What To Watch For At Watkins Glen

By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)

This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will twist and turn, right as well as left on the road course in Watkins Glen, New York. This track is a very high speed road course, and as a result things can change very quickly.

Here are just some of the storylines to watch for in what will mark the 28th Sprint Cup Series event at the track:

1. Can A ‘Ringer’ Win One Of These Races?

Of the six road course ringers attempting to be in the field, none have ever captured a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. However this time around Boris Said actually has a notable ride at Red Bull Racing, and Ron Fellows has shown that he can muster speed from Tommy Baldwin’s under-funded car.

Add the fact that Scott Pruett may have a shot at one of the top-rides in the entire garage area on Sunday, and what you have is the planets possibly aligning for one of these guys to finally break through.

2. Is It Time For Tony?

Tony Stewart has more career victories (five) at Watkins Glen than any other driver that will be in the field Sunday. Not only that, but in his last six races at this track Stewart’s worst finish is second…

To top it all off, ‘Smoke’ has turned up the temperature and is one of the hottest drivers in the Series over the past 10 races. In that stretch Stewart has recorded eight top-ten finishes. However he is still searching for that elusive first victory of the season.

He finished second last week at Pocono, is his time now?

3. Will Marcos Ambrose Redeem Himself, After His Infineon Gaffe?

Last time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series came to a road course, Marcos Ambrose shoulda, woulda, coulda won the race… However under a late caution he stalled his car while leading, thus handing over the lead, and victory to Jimmie Johnson.

That win could have saved Ambrose’s season, which has been a struggle, and who knows he may not have decided to leave his team at year’s end.

Regardless, one has to wonder that with Marcos looking for a ride in 2011, can he redeem himself this weekend?

4. Baby Watch: Jeff Gordon Edition

Jimmie Johnson didn’t miss a race during his baby watch, but Jeff Gordon may just get a call this weekend for the arrival of his second child. If the call comes through on Sunday Gordon will have to relinquish his seat to Scott Pruett.

Pruett is of course one of the best road racers in all the world, and considering Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 car is one of the most coveted seats in the entire garage, this could be interesting should Gordon have to leave.

If Gordon doesn’t get ‘the call’, he is still an interesting storyline to keep your eye on. Gordon once owned NASCAR road races, in fact his four career wins at Watkins Glen is second to only Tony Stewart. However Gordon has lost his way recently on road courses…

He has finished 29th and 37th in his last two outings at Watkins Glen.

5. Will Jimmie Johnson Be On The Receiving End Of ‘Have At It’?

This past week Jimmie Johnson attempted to bump draft Kurt Busch down the straightaway at Pocono. That maneuver went seriously wrong, and sent Busch hard into the wall, and back across the track.

This is of course the continuation of a little rivalry that we saw back in New Hampshire, where Busch and Johnson shoved each other around for the win late in that race.

However if you remember way back to Infineon last season, you’ll remember that this feud started there. During that road course race Jimmie Johnson made contact with Busch, crashing him from the top-ten, to out of the race.

Will we see Busch get retribution this weekend on the road course in New York?

Author: Toby Christie

Toby is the Editor of TheFinalLap.com and Social Media Director of all things @TheFinalLap. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly radio show and podcast, and he is the writer and co-host of the Racing Legends podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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