by Natalie Anthony
Road Racing Righteousness and Repercussions
Centurion Boats at the Glen
Good thing Robby Gordon only got fined and put on probation for his semi-menacing acts at the Montreal race last Saturday in the Busch Series because as we all know, Robby is one of the better road course racers. I myself am not fluent in NASCAR rules and regulations, but I watched the race live on ESPN and I thought that he got a raw deal. Even with the controversy, you have to admit that with Robby Gordon’s actions, he did make the race more interesting. And given Robby’s past reputation, he is sure to excite the NASCAR community at least once a season (Remember the roll bar padding last season?). Robby Gordon has to watch his driving this weekend at Watkins Glen International (WGI) because one more mess up will land him suspended indefinitely. On a different kind of interesting topic, only 48 drivers are set to try to qualify for the race this weekend. Do the math and only 5 unlucky drivers will not make the field. My guess on the 5 who will be going home are, A.J. Allmendinger, Klaus Graf, Jeremy Mayfield, Kenny Wallace and maybe Ward Burton. All of the pre-mentioned drivers have a chance, but a small one. Lets see how qualify pays out on Friday.
Correction to last weekend’s article prediction, Kyle Busch will be taking over the #18 at Joe Gibbs Racing and not taking over the #8 at DEI/Ginn Racing. I guess Joe Gibbs feeds off of controversial, attitude-having drivers.
The Checkered Four
(Current point standings)
Jeff Gordon (1st) Hendrick Motorsports - Chevrolet – If you have used Jeff Gordon too many times this season for your Fantasy League, than shame on you. Well, I really can’t say that because no matter what race you pick Jeff for, I am sure you came out with a lot of points for your Fantasy Team. Well, this weekend will be no different. Jeff holds the record for the most wins (4) of the active driver roster at Watkins Glen and you should be looking for him to finish at least in the Top 5 or better.
Ricky Rudd (26th) Yates Newman Haas Lanigan Racing – Ford – I don’t usually put a driver that is pretty much driving after their prime in my Top 4 unless it is Mark Martin, but I have a good feeling about Ricky this weekend. He might be a little rusty, no phun to the eldest Wallace retired driver, but I think that he has gotten his proverbial engines well oiled and might give us a great show on Sunday. Ricky does have 2 wins at Watkins Glen and averages a Top 10 finish about half the time. Last time out he raced here he finished 16th in 2005, so he is totally due for his next Top 10.
Tony Stewart (5th) Joe Gibbs Racing – Chevrolet – The great thing about Tony is he is a late bloomer. If you have been following him for the last 2 season you pretty much know when to expect him to put the pedal to the metal. This road course will give him another chance to prove his worth and solidify his spot in the chase for the Nextel Cup. No more worries for him like last season, Tony is in and there is nothing any other driver can do about it. Tony has engraved his driving ability in the groves at WGI by securing 3 wins, 4 Top 5’s and 6 Top 10’s out of 8 starts.
Juan Pablo Montoya (18th) Chip Ganassi/Sabates Racing – Dodge – Juan has never run at Watkins Glen, but with his past success at Mexico and how well everybody knows he runs at road courses, you have a sure fit for Juan in your Fantasy League. His teammates just need to watch their back end when the laps start getting short.
(Current point standings)
Robby Gordon (29th) Robby Gordon Motorsports – Ford – Robby is here because not only is he known for his road course racing ability, but due to last weekend’s misconduct at Montreal, he is looking to prove that he can win a road course all on his own without the controversy of a dual donut competition with Kevin Harvick. Robby has raced at WGI only a mere 8 times and has come out with 6 Top 5’s and 6 Top 10’s.
Boris Said (50th) No Fear Racing – Ford – Boris is synonymous will road course racing. If there is a race with more than 4 turns, you bet that Boris will be driving in it. Lucky for Boris, this race at WGI has 11 turns and he will be spending his time driving in the Top 5 the entire 90 laps.
Most likely to be a lap down
(Current point standings)
Kurt Busch (12th) Penske Racing – Dodge – Thank goodness that Kurt got his first win this season last weekend at Pocono because this weekend is going to put him back in 13th place in points for the chase for the Nextel Cup. I hate to say it, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. runs better on road courses and will be getting the 12th place in points back from Kurt. During the last race at WGI Dale Jr. finished one spot better (18th) than the older Busch brother and that will be all Dale needs to be back on the bubble. Look at last weekend’s finish, one spot is all the guys on the bubble in contention for the chase need to get in.
Greg Biffle (16th) Roush Fenway Racing – Ford – I really feel for the guy. Greg, if any other driver really does give his all when he is on the track. It seems like he is adapting to the Matt Kenseth way of driving. Greg does however have a problem with learning the turns on a road course. Greg will definitely be a lap down at WGI, because every time he has been here he has finished in the Top 30 or worse.
Watkins Glen International (Watkins Glen, NY)
Centurion Boats at the Glen (90 Laps)
August 12, 2007 (Sunday) – 2:00 pm – ESPN
(Sister Road Courses – Infineon Raceway)
AMD at the Glen
(August 13, 2006)
Top 10 Results
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Tony Stewart
3. Jamie McMurray
4. Robby Gordon
5. Carl Edwards
6. Scott Pruett
7. Elliott Sadler
8. Ryan Newman
9. Kyle Busch
10. Denny Hamlin