Previewing the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen
August 5, 2016
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will make its second and final road course stop this weekend at Watkins Glen International. The Cheez-It 355 at the Glen is set for Sunday, Aug. 7, with television coverage set to begin at 2:30 P.M. Eastern on USA Network.
The Chase Picture
Five races remain before the beginning of the Chase. Currently, five winless drivers in 2016 hold a Chase-eligible position (12th Austin Dillon, +61 points; 13th Ryan Newman +49 points; 14th Chase Elliott +47 points; 15th Jamie McMurray, +31 points; and 16th Kyle Larson. +20 points).
The maximum amount of points a driver can make up in one race is 44.
Three drivers are within one race, in terms of points, of the Chase cutline (17th Trevor Bayne, -20 points; 18th Kasey Kahne, -20 points; and 19th Ricky Stenhouse Jr., -28 points).
Winless drivers occupy 13 of the 14 positions in points 16th-30th. Among the winless drivers is A.J. Allmendinger (21st -59 points), the 2014 Sprint Cup Series winner at Watkins Glen. The win in 2014 propelled him and JTG-Daugherty Racing to its lone appearance in the Chase.
Rookie-of-the-year contender Chris Buescher’s victory at Pocono Raceway Monday makes the Front Row Motorsports driver eligible for the Chase if he can crack the top-30 in driver’s points.
Entering Watkins Glen, Buescher is six points behind 30th David Ragan. If Buescher makes up the deficit this weekend, he will knock somebody currently eligible for the Chase below the cutline.
Dale Earnhardt Jr./Jeff Gordon
The sidelined Hendrick Motorsports driver will sit out his fourth consecutive race this weekend with Jeff Gordon making his third start in the car.
Dale Junior, who will miss Watkins Glen and the August 20th race at Bristol Motor Speedway, is set to address the media at 12 P.M. Eastern Friday in the Watkins Glen media center deadline room.
The Racing Experts will provide updates from the press conference.
Gordon, a four-time winner at Watkins Glen, will be making his 800th career start in the Sprint Cup Series Sunday.
Gordon will become the ninth driver in NASCAR history to hit the 800 start mark. The last driver to achieve 800 starts was Mark Martin at Martinsville in April of 2011.
Road Course Ringers
Two drivers on the entry list are set to make their first start in the Sprint Cup Series this season.
Boris Said of Carlsbad, California will be driving the No. 32 Go Fas Racing Ford Fusion. Said will make his 11th consecutive start at Watkins Glen and 16th overall at the track.
Said has posted two career top-ten finishes at the track with a best of third in 2005.
Alex Kennedy of Aztec, New Mexico will be piloting the No. 55 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet SS entry. Kennedy will be making his fourth consecutive start at the track.
Kennedy’s best effort at Watkins Glen was a 28th place showing in last year’s race.
The forecast for the race weekend shows a chance of precipitation all three days of on-track activity.
According to weather.com, Friday calls for for a high of 89 with isolated thunderstorms, Saturday a high of 87 with partly cloudy skies and Sunday mostly sunny with a high of 83.
At time of publication, Friday is listed as a 30 percent chance of precipitation, Saturday 20 percent and Sunday 10 percent.