Watkins Glen Fantasy NASCAR Front Runner Rankings
Watkins Glen Fantasy Spin – Look for William Byron to have a strong showing at Watkins Glen. Byron has been extremely competitive over the last three races here, and at Indy the most recent road course visited, Byron was one of the best and he thought he had the 2nd best car (2nd best Total Speed Ranking, wrecked late). In the other three races at road courses visited this year, Byron has results of 9th (Sonoma), 12th (COTA) and 16th (Road America, better than his result). Over the combined races held at road courses this year, Byron has the 8th best Total Speed Ranking. Byron’s only finished in the top ten once since his Martinsville win back in April and that was a 9th at Sonoma. In 4 of the last 5 races heading into the weekend, Byron has finished in either 11th or 12th. If Byron can avoid trouble, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he gets a top ten.
Watkins Glen Track History – At Watkins Glen, William Byron has performed at a high-level and minus 2019 where he showed potential but had a misleading result, Byron’s average finish is 7th. Last year, Byron was strong. In the race he finished 6th, was the 3rd Fastest Driver Late In A Run, had the 4th best Total Speed Ranking and had the 6th best Driver Rating. In 2019, Byron looked great, but he also caused his own demise. In the race he started 2nd, finished 5th in Stage #1, but then during the Stage #1 caution he showed his displeasure to Kyle Busch and ran into the back of the #18. That absolutely destroyed the front of the #24 which ruined what looked like a promising afternoon and led to his 21st place finish. In 2018, Byron had a great track debut. He finished 8th, earned the 9th best driver rating and had a 10th place average running position.
Watkins Glen Fantasy Spin – At Watkins Glen, look for Alex Bowman to be a high single-digit to low double-digit performer, which matches up with how he’s run at road courses this year, and with his 2022 weekly baseline level of performance. This year at road courses minus Indy RC which was far from incident free for him, Bowman has a 10.0 average finish, a 12.7 average running position, has the 10th best Total Speed Ranking and ranks 9th for speed late in a run.
Watkins Glen Track History – Watkins Glen hasn’t been a good track for Alex Bowman in Hendrick equipment and over his three starts in the 48/88, Bowman has a pair of 14th’s and a 20th. In the “What you have done lately” world of fantasy racing, Bowman’s 20th came in last year’s race. In that race, Bowman had a 17.9 average running position, the 20th best Total Speed Ranking and ranked 25th for Speed Late In A Run. In 2019 when the series next most recently raced here, Bowman finished 14th, had a 13.3 average running position, was the 12th Fastest Driver Late In A Run and had the 14th best Total Speed Ranking. In 2018 when the checkered flag waved, he finished 14th, earned the 14th best driver rating and had a 16th place average running position.
Watkins Glen Fantasy Spin – At Watkins Glen, put Brad Keselowski on your radar. Keselowski has shown potential at road courses this year and it all stems from when RFK did a test at Watkins Glen prior to Sonoma. We’re now racing at Watkins Glen, so let’s see what they learned at the track where their upswing originated at. Since that test, Keselowski finished 10th at Sonoma and then in the other two races he’s had major problems. On Sunday, I’m going to view him as a low double-digit to mid-teens driver who might just sneak in a top ten.
Watkins Glen Track History – Watkins Glen has historically been Brad Keselowski’s best road course and at one point, Keselowski had three straight runner-up’s. I’ll note, that was about a decade ago but over his 11 starts, Keselowski has 6 top tens and 7 top 15’s. Last year at Watkins Glen, Keselowski started on the pole, led the opening 9 laps but then his afternoon went downhill and on lap 10 he spun. Later in the race, he spun again. For whatever reason, the #2 had major locking up brake issues and it led to him finishing a clunker 35th. In the race, the #2 Total Speed Ranking was the 23rd best with his speed over the segments being 6th, 22nd, 29th and then 31st. In 2019, Keselowski finished 6th in Stage #2, 9th overall, had an 8.4 average running position, had the 8th best Total Speed Ranking and was the 11th Fastest Driver Late In A Run. In 2018, Keselowski finished 17th and had a 15th place average running position. I’m just going to chalk that up to his team missing the setup. In 2017, Keselowski had a great car but finished a misleading 15th. “Performance Wise”, I thought he was likely top five good, but with 3 laps to go he pitted from the lead and then during his pit stop he was penalized for driving through too many pit stalls. Also, earlier in the race on lap 45 he spun while battling Kyle Busch for 8th which dropped him back to the 30’s. In 2016, Keselowski, finished 3rd, earned the best driver rating and led 28 laps. If there wasn’t late restarts, I think he would’ve won that race. In 2015, Keselowski finished 7th.