1. Marcos Ambrose – Marcos Ambrose is a driver who you can pick confidently to win the Watkins Glen CHEEZ-IT 355. This is by far his best track on the schedule. He’s won the last two races at the Glen and has never finished worse than 3rd. Over his 5 races his average finish is 2.0. In last season’s race Ambrose didn’t have the best car but he still took home the trophy. If the track wasn’t oiled down on the last lap he likely would’ve finished 3rd. In his 2011 victory I don’t think he had the best car either. What happened is that Kyle Busch messed up during the final restart which opened up the door for an aggressive Marcos Ambrose (video). Road courses are by far his best track type. On these venues he currently has ten consecutive top 8 finishes. Earlier this season at Infineon he finished 7th and led 18 laps. He’s much better at the Glen so to an extent you can void that result. On Sunday he’ll be using his Infineon chassis from June. Starting on the pole will give Marcos Ambrose a huge advantage in the race. This event has been won from the pole 30% percent of the time.
2. Kyle Busch – Watkins Glen has been a very good track for Kyle Busch. He’s a former winner (2008) and in my opinion he should’ve won the last two races here. Last year at Watkins Glen he had the dominant car. He led nearly half the race (43 laps), had a third place average running position and finished 7th. If there wasn’t oil on the track on the last lap he would’ve won by a couple of seconds. In 2011 once again he had the dominant car. In that race he led 49 laps, had a 2nd place average running position and finished 3rd. If he didn’t have problems during a late restart in turn #1 he had a very good chance to win the race. Currently at Watkins Glen Kyle Busch has 7 consecutive top ten finishes and over this stretch his average finish is 5.57. On Sunday Kyle Busch will start in 5th.
3. Martin Truex Jr. – On Sunday in the CHEEZ-IT 355 Martin Truex Jr. will be looking to go for the sweep on this track type. That doesn’t happen often though. It’s been done four times with the most recent being in 2008 by Kyle Busch. Between the two road courses I like Truex Jr. more at the Glen. He has a 13.7 average finish and has had a result in the top ten nearly 60% percent of the time. He currently has back to back top ten finishes. In last seasons race he earned the 6th best driver rating and finished 10th. At Sonoma earlier this season he led 51 laps and earned the best driver rating. Yesterday in practice I thought the #56 car looked the best on the track. In practice #1 they completed a long +10 lap run and it appeared that they maintained speed over the course of that run. On Sunday Truex Jr. will start in 3rd.