The beautiful scenic road course of Watkins Glen is the basis of this week’s power rankings.
Unlike Sonoma, this is a very fast rhythm race track with the exception of the “bus stop” loop, often the section where race car drivers tend to get off rather than stay on.
Kyle Busch has excelled at the Glen with the third best driver rating for his career, including a win in last year’s heel and toe classic. He would have had two wins in a row if it weren’t for Brad Keselowski, who wrecked Kyle at the entrance to the esses in 2012. Kyle has an impressive 7.1 average start and an average finish of 8.1 for his career. This translates to a must have on your squad for Sunday; his price should be attractive.
Keselowski has turned into a road course ace, but has never won at the Glen. He leads the pack of active drivers in average finish with a measly 6.5 average. For those of you who haven’t used Brad in a while, now is the time as he should be a hands down pick.
Carl Edwards has to be considered at the Glen. He won earlier this year at Sonoma and also has a Nationwide Series win in Montreal. He has the fifth best average finish among all active drivers at the Glen and his price should be right.
There’s one man who is a must have on Sunday, Marcos Ambrose. Ambrose is better here than he is at Sonoma. Ambrose leads the active drivers in wins with two the past five years. He has the second best average finish in his lifetime at 6.8. Flashback to 2012 where Ambrose, in third place with two laps to go, won at the Glen two years ago in a door handle slamming, bumper tagging, heavyweight bout with no prisoners taken between three of the series’ best, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose. I watched the video countless times; it was that good and many, including myself, consider that race the best finish at a road course race in NASCAR history. Ambrose has an Australian V8 Supercar Series Championship under his belt driving on tracks similar to Watkins Glen. It’s a no brainer readers; put another shrimp on the Barbie.
Three active drivers have won a pole at the Glen the past five years — Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose. This stat is significant as nine drivers have won from the pole position in 31 Watkins Glen races. Chevrolet has the most wins with 16.
The best average starts under 10.0 by active drivers, the past five years:
A.J. Allmendinger 3.3
Kyle Busch 4.5
Marcos Ambrose 5.0
Tony Stewart 6.7
Jamie McMurray 8.0
Jimmie Johnson 8.5
There will be 43 race cars entered for Sundays race with the addition of Nelson Piquet Jr. who has one Nationwide Series win. He should be a good buy for a filler position.
Here are my power rankings for Watkins Glen for the last five years:
10 Clint Bowyer- 1 win, 2 top 5s, average finish of 13.3.
9 Ryan Newman- has no top tens but has the 8th best driver rating, avg finish 13.3.
8 Jimmie Johnson- 1 top 5 and 3 top 10s, average finish 12.3.
7 Kevin Harvick- 1 top 10, average finish 11.3.
6 Marcos Ambrose- 2 wins, 2 top 5s and 3 top 10s, average finish 9.0.
5 Carl Edwards- 2 top 5s and 2 top 10s, average finish 8.8.
4 Martin Truex Jr- 2 top 5s and 3 top 10s, average finish 8.8.
3 A.J. Allmendinger- 1 top 5 and 3 top 10s, average finish 7.3.
2 Brad Keselowski- 3 top 5s and 3 top 10s, average finish 6.5.
1 Kyle Busch- 1 win, 2 top 5s and 4 top 10s, average finish 4.8.
Qualifying will be on Saturday, but I will have my Ice Picks up on Friday. You can have all your Iceman Stockcarspin NASCAR news delivered to your phone by downloading the Fansided phone app; get yours today. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Thanks for stopping in. @JoeIcemanNieves