NXS: Watkins Glen International Race Preview

The NASCAR XFINITY Series goes road course racing this weekend at Watkins Glen International. Watkins Glen is a seven-turn, 2.45-mile road course located in the state of New York. Joey Logano, who will pilot a second Team Penske entry, enters the weekend as the defending race winner.

A total of 41 drivers are on the weekend entry list. Some of those include Paul Menard, Joey Logano, Tommy Drissi, Scott Heckert, Kyle Busch, Spencer Gallagher, Brad Keselowski, Cody Ware, Chris Cook, Trevor Bayne, Nicolas Hammann, Kenny Habul, Todd Bodine and Ryan Ellis. One driver will not race in Saturday’s Zippo 200.

Trevor Bayne will join the NASCAR XFINITY Series this weekend to pilot the No. 60 AdvoCare Ford with Roush Fenway Racing. Bayne last competed in the series at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2014 before joining Roush Fenway Racing full-time in the Sprint Cup Series. The 25-year old driver hopes running the XFINITY Series race will help on Sunday.

“Getting to race in the XFINITY race will be a huge help for Sunday,”said Bayne in a team release. “With the track being freshly repaved it will be very fast and unpredictable. This extra track time will allow me to get as many laps as possible to help us get comfortable and try to gain the most points possible toward the Chase come Sunday.”

Bayne holds 24 top five and 72 top 10 finishes through 151 career XFINITY Series starts. The Tennessee native holds two victories with his last coming at Iowa Speedway in 2013.

Erik Jones enters the weekend looking to capture his fourth win of the season on Saturday at Watkins Glen. Jones led 154 of the 250 laps last weekend at Iowa Speedway to capture his third win of the season. The Michigan native will make his first XFINITY Series start on a road course.

“This will be my first time at Watkins Glen, and my first time at any of the XFINITY Series road courses,” said Jones in a team release. “With the new track pavement and the extra practice time on Thursday, we’ll spend time figuring out the track and getting comfortable with another new track for me. The few starts I have at road courses in the Truck Series resulted in a win and a third-place finish, so hopefully we can have similar results this weekend when we take on Watkins Glen in the GameStop Rock Band Rivals Toyota Camry.”

The 20-year old driver has 24 career top five and 32 top 10 finishes through 45 XFINITY Series starts. He also has five victories and nine poles since making his debut back in 2014 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Scott Heckert will make his second career XFINITY Series start at Watkins Glen with BJ McLeod Motorsports. Heckert, a veteran driver in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, finished 26th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last month in his series debut.

“I’m excited to get back to a road course, especially at Watkins Glen,” said Heckert in a team release. “It’s a unique, but fast road course – and with the repave it will make the lap times even quicker, it should be a lot of fun this weekend.”

Heckert already knows his way to victory lane as he won last season’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series race there. He also scored his first K&N Pro Series East win there back in 2014 with Harry Scott Motorsports. The 22-year old also scored the win last season on the road course at VIR.

The Zippo 200 will air live on CNBC at 2:00 p.m. ET. The Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Channel 90 will have the live radio play-by-play.

Brett Winningham
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