It’s crunch time again, as qualifying just got over at Watkins Glen and we have just a little over two hours until the green flag waves. Today’s I Love New York 355 is only 90 laps in length, and because of that, strategy is going to play a huge role in who ends up at the front when it’s all said and done–especially for the drivers who didn’t have a good qualifying effort.
Kyle Busch is on the pole for today’s race at Watkins Glen. The full starting lineup can be found by clicking here. As far as practice goes, the speeds from those two sessions can be found here: Practice #1 — Happy Hour, and, as always, our in-depth practice notes can be found here: Practice #1 — Happy Hour. I also included practice ranks for my top 15 drivers below, just for quick reference.
Final Top 25 Rankings For The Watkins Glen I Love New York 355
1. Brad Keselowski – Starts 8th – DraftKings Price: $9,800 – Yahoo! A Group
***Practice #1 rank = 6th … Happy Hour rank = 1st ***
Despite not having a win here (yet), Brad Keselowski might be the best racer here at Watkins Glen. He does have two bad finishes on his record here (35th in 2014, 20th in 2010) but when you take those out of the equation, BK’s average finish here is 3.2. Yes, 3.2 without a win. The #2 Ford was one of the best cars at Sonoma earlier this year and wound up finishing 3rd after qualifying 23rd. Look for Keselowski to get another good finish here today as this #2 team starts building momentum for the playoffs.
2. Kyle Busch – Starts 1st – DraftKings Price: $10,300 – Yahoo! A Group
***Practice #1 rank = 1st … Happy Hour rank = 10th ***
I said it earlier this year: as soon as Joe Gibbs Racing gets a win under their belt, expect them to go on a run. Denny Hamlin went to victory lane at Loudon and Kyle Busch had the best car at Indianapolis before finally getting his first win of the season last week at Pocono. Can Rowdy make it two in a row? Busch is a two-time winner here at Watkins Glen and has posted a single digit finish in ten of his twelve career starts here. That should be eleven of thirteen after today. The #18 Toyota was fast off the truck and is one of the legitimate contenders once again.
3. Martin Truex, Jr. – Starts 3rd – DraftKings Price: $10,500 – Yahoo! A Group
***Practice #1 rank = 2nd … Happy Hour rank = 3rd ***
Martin Truex, Jr. is often praised for his intermediate track skills, but don’t forget that he does have a win over at Sonoma, and the #78 Toyota was the best pure speed car there this season as well. Unfortunately, Truex had an engine problem in that race and ended up finishing 37th. As far as Watkins Glen goes, Truex has finished 7th or better in five of his eleven starts here and has a pretty good car this weekend as well. The Glen requires more horsepower out of a racecar than Sonoma does, and the #78 Toyota is probably the strongest in the garage when it comes to that.