Thursday, August 2, 2018

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Road Racing at The Glen

By Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race & Track
All with 4 - Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth
Both with 3 - Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski

Watkins Glen International Driver Ratings
Since 2005 - Factors in Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps and Lead-Lap Finish. SOURCE: MRN.com.
Rank
Driver
High Rating
Avg. Rating
1
Daniel Suarez
113.1
113.1
2
Kyle Busch
145.1
110.7
3
Brad Keselowski
129.1
102.8
4
AJ Allmendinger
129.7
97.1
5
Martin Truex Jr
139.5
95.8
6
Kurt Busch
117.2
93.4
7
Jimmie Johnson
117.7
93.0
8
Erik Jones
92.2
92.2
9
Chase Elliott
103.1
91.5
10
Kevin Harvick
132.7
89.7
11
Denny Hamlin
123.8
87.4
12
Joey Logano
118.2
85.1
13
Matt Kenseth
111.4
84.6
14
Clint Bowyer
109.5
83.0
15
Jamie McMurray
109.1
82.6
Recent Pole Winners:
2017 Kyle Busch
2016 Carl Edwards
2015 AJ Allmendinger

Last Year's Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

The Likely Suspects: Fantasy racing at road courses is a great change of pace. There used to be a time when only half the field was competent at this style of racing, but these days the competition is pretty even. However, those drivers that excel at this style of racing have a real chance to punch their ticket into the playoffs. These are my Watkins Glen go-tos: Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, and Daniel Suarez.

My 2 Cents: Road-racing provides a great break from the oval tracks that dominate NASCAR. There's nothing like making lefts and rights to mix up the racing just a bit. I bet we'll even be treated to some cameras by the pedals this week. This week's no-brainer selection is a tie between AJ Allmendinger and Daniel Suarez. My next picks are: Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth. I'll round out my team with Alex Bowman and William Byron.

If you're running out of Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch picks, you may want to consider Kevin Harvick. He's going to be extra motivated after being penalized 10 driver points and 10 owner points for failing post-qualifying technical inspection three times at Pocono. 

My Final Four: Kyle Busch, AJ Allmendinger, Daniel Suarez and Alex Bowman.

Second-Look Driver: This week's second-look driver is Chris Buescher. Chris doesn't have a ton of experience at Watkins Glen, but he finished 11th last year and does exhibit road-racing prowess. He could be one of those drivers who shines this weekend. Last week's second-look driver, Jimmie Johnson, didn't lead a single lap last week, but he did drive through the field from 35th place to finish 17th.

Points to Ponder:
  • Five drivers have won more than one pole in the Monster Energy Series at WGI, but Kyle Busch is the only active driver with multiple WGI poles (two).
  • Kyle Busch leads the MENCS in road course wins among active drivers with four (two at Sonoma – 2008, 2015, and two at Watkins Glen – 2008, 2013).
  • Joe Gibbs Racing leads the series in wins at Watkins Glen International with seven victories - Tony Stewart (four: 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007), Kyle Busch (two: 2008, 2013) and Denny Hamlin (one: 2016).
  • The Busch Pole position (1st) is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (nine) than any other starting spot at Watkins Glen.    
  • None of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Watkins Glen have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
  • AJ Allmendinger leads all active series drivers in average finishing position at WGI with a 9.333.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 8 a.m. EDT on Saturday, August 4th, and your final picks by 2:30 p.m. EDT on race day Sunday, August 5th.

Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter at @purplecatpr.

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