After a rain-shortened finish at the “Tricky Triangle” of Pocono, the Race to The Chase shifts to the 11-turn road course at Watkins Glen International. Following this weekend’s event, there will only be three races remaining before “The Road to Richmond” culminates atRichmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 8 with the Federated Auto Parts 400—“One Last Race to Make The Chase.”
While the top 12 in points didn’t see too much movement following Pocono, from position 13 on, there was quite a bit of change. Most notably,Jeff Gordon moved past three “wild card” rivals to join Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne for the final “wild card” spot, if the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field was to be set today.
Gordon is currently sitting 13th in the standings and is tied in both points (611) and wins (1) with one-time Watkins Glen winner and “wild card” hopeful, Ryan Newman. As it stands now, Gordon would take the last “wild card” spot over Newman, because he has the best-finish tie-breaker. A four-time winner at The Glen, Gordon can tighten his grip on the last “wild card” spot with a win in the Finger Lakes region this weekend.
One driver that’s hoping the rain at Pocono didn’t wash away his “wild card” hopes is Kyle Busch. Prior to last week, he held the second “wild card” berth, but a 33rd place finish dropped him to 15th in the standings. Busch is always a threat at The Glen with one career victory and an average finish of 9.3. This he has the fourth-best driver rating at 106.8.
Here is a look at drivers fighting for a “wild card” position and their stats at Pocono:
Marcos Ambrose: Currently 18th in the points, with no wins this season, Ambrose has the second-best driver rating this week at 118.0. He has one win at The Glen and knows his way around the twists and turns with an average finish of 2.3. A win this weekend could help him gain valuable points and assist with his goal to make the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Clint Bowyer: He definitely doesn’t have the best luck at The Glen, with only one top-10 finish in 6 career races. Sitting in the 10th position, Bowyer has a driver rating of 77.1 and an average finish of 17.5. Though on paper his stats don’t seem favorable, it is notable to mention Bowyer won the only other road course race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule this year in Sonoma.
Martin Truex Jr.: Quietly having a great season, Truex Jr. finds himself sitting comfortably at 5th in the standings. The only stat missing from his impressive season is a win. He’s 13th on the driver rating list at 87.1 and has two top-five finish in six races at The Glen. Only 48 points out of first place, a win by Truex Jr. this weekend might lead to a shake-up in the top 5.