So let’s take a quick look at who has won the past three NASCAR Cup Series races. Martin Truex Jr. won at Kentucky, Kevin Harvick won at New Hampshire and Kyle Busch won Sunday at Pocono. That’s a microcosm of the entire 2018 season after 21 races where those three have combined to win 16 races.
The series travels to Watkins Glen International, the second of three road course races this season. Truex won at Sonoma Raceway in June and the new twist is the Sept. 30 race at Charlotte where they’ll incorporate the infield road course as well as the banking of the oval, calling it a roval. The more the merrier.
I’m a huge fan of the road courses and love seeing those big heavy cars make left and right turns. Formula-1 and IndyCar are fun to watch on the street circuits and road courses as well, but what I like more about NASCAR is the bumping and banging with no fear of harming the car. If a driver bumps another in F-1, his day is over. In NASCAR, it’s just a dent in the fender.
Road courses bring out the true skill of a driver and make up for whatever gap in speed their car might have on ovals compared to elite teams. A.J. Allmendinger made the playoffs in 2014 due to his only career Cup win coming at Watkins Glen that season.
Despite the road courses being somewhat of an equalizer, Truex has won the past two. He won this race last season and Sonoma this season. He’s got three road wins total, second-best among active drivers behind Kyle Busch who has four. Truex has had an amazing set-up that is going to be hard to beat this week, which is why he’s the favorite.
Kyle Busch has two Watkins Glen wins, the last coming in 2013, and Kevin Harvick has a 2006 win there. They’ll both be chasing Truex and capable of a win. And unfortunately, they’ll have low odds to win on them as well.
So here’s a couple drivers we might be able to find decent odds on that should compete well and have a chance to win. Last season Daniel Suarez finished third at Watkins Glen and he’s fresh off a runner-up at Pocono last week. He’s on the upswing. His teammate Denny Hamlin won at Watkins Glen in 2016 and was fourth last season.
Clint Bowyer has 10 top-five finishes in 25 road course starts, including a win at Sonoma in 2012. He was third at Sonoma in June, runner-up there in 2017 and fifth last year at Watkins Glen.