Jul 3, 2014; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver A.J Allmendinger (47) during practice for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Ice Picks - Watkins Glen

The second and last road course race of the year is finally upon us,  as Ice picks Watkins Glen’s eight best drivers for this Sunday’s Cheez-it 355.

The first of two practice sessions is underway with the listed drivers the fastest during first practice:

#4-Harvick 128.474

#48-Johnson 127.841

#2-Keselowski 126.560

#47-Allmendinger 126.359

#9-Ambrose 126.356

#22 Joey Logano 126.303

#24 Jeff Gordon 126.296

#31 Ryan Newman 126.079

#88 Dale Earnhardt Jr 126.058

#18 Kyle Busch 125.912


If you unload fast at The Glen, chances are your going to do well come Sunday and Brad Keselowski has once again proven he’s fast on road courses with the third best time during first practice. Brad has the fifth best driver rating among all active drivers at The Glen but has come up short lately. His 6.5 average finish is second among all active drivers the past five years with three top fives and three top 10s.

Kyle Busch was the first driver under  126 mph or 125.912 during first practice, but don’t let that fool you as Kyle sports the second best starting average at 4.5.  Kyle has one win, two top fives and four top 10s, with an average finish of 4.8. Kyle was the last of 19 different drivers to win from the pole in 2008.

Marcos Ambrose has got to be licking his chops when it comes to road course racing on the NASCAR circuit. Once again, Petty Motorsports has given Marcos a car he can throw around the turns and be competitive. His two wins with three top fives and three top 10s has him second in driver ratings among all active drivers. Marcos won’t be making any stops at the bus stop.

A.J. Allmendinger has a road race background, and with the fourth fastest practice speed, he’s in position for a Watkins Glen win. A.J. has come close with one top five and three top 10s and an average finish of 7.3 the past five years. He’s sixth among all drivers, lifetime, at The Glen and a great sleeper pick come Sunday.

The deepest starting spot to produce a win was Steve Park back in 2000 and no one has won starting outside the 20th position. I can’t stress this enough;  track position is everything at The Glen, as 11 of 31 races have been won by front row starters and 21 of 31 races have been won by the top five starters. The top 10 starters have won 22 of 31 Watkins Glen races.

Goodyear will use the same tire code for all four tires; D-4590.  The Nationwide Series will have wet tires on standby from Goodyear. The Nationwide Series is privileged, I guess?


Here are my Ice Picks for the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen:


A List


Kyle Busch- leads the list the past five years at The Glen.

Kevin Harvick- finally has a road race car he can race with

Clint Bowyer- a sleeper for a win and a top 10.


B List


Brad Keselowski- knows how to get around this fast track.

A.J. Allmending- has a road race background and fourth fastest 1st practice.

Marcos Ambrose- a stud on road courses.

Brian Vickers- bounces back from last week’s disaster.


C  List


Nelson Piquet Jr- has a Nationwide Series road course win.


Those are the drivers I think will get you good points on Sunday. Don’t forget to bookmark Stock Car Spin and download the free phone app. for your sporting fix. Thanks for stopping in.

@JoeIcemanNieves – Twitter






Tags: NASCAR Watkins Glen

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