Five NASCAR drivers to watch at Watkins Glen International

Here are five NASCAR drivers to watch as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen International for the Go Bowling at The Glen.

The NASCAR Cup Series is headed to Watkins Glen International for the second road course race in the 2019 NASCAR season. This will be the only visit to the road course in upstate New York. The final visit to a road course will be at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course in September.

At Chicagoland Speedway, all five drivers finished inside the top-15. Heading into Watkins Glen International, will we see a driver outside the playoff bubble win? Can Jimmie Johnson turn his season around? Will someone snap their winless streak? Will we see another repeat winner?

Here are five drivers to keep any eye on this weekend to see how they perform at Watkins Glen International.

Chase Elliott

Elliott is the defending race winner and has led the most laps, 61, of any driver in the past three races at Watkins Glen.

The win last season was Elliott’s first career win and the first of three for the rest of his 2018 season. Elliott had an engine expire at Sonoma Raceway after starting fourth and leading three laps.

Elliott has been Hendrick Motorsports best chance to win each weekend and that will be the same once again at Watkins Glen.

Daniel Suarez is still in search of his first career Cup Series win. (World Copyright: Matthew Thackler, NKP)

Daniel Suarez

Surprise! Suarez has the second best average finish, 3.5, among all drivers in the last two races at Watkins Glen.

He has finished third and fourth in his two starts and has led a total of 14 laps.

“I love road-course racing a lot and The Glen is one of my favorite racetracks,” said Suarez in his pre-race team release.

“As a racecar driver, I love coming to Watkins Glen. The fans make it so good and with all of the camping they do. The atmosphere is very good and so fun. Let me tell you, it’s a very, very fast track, especially for a road course, which makes it exciting, too.”

“Hopefully we can get a trophy this weekend.”

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch will be tough to beat at Watkins Glen. (World Copyright: Nigel Kinrade, NKP)

Martin Truex Jr.

Truex Jr. has made Watkins Glen his personal playground the last three times the series has visited the road course. He has the best average finish, 3.3 of all drivers. Truex Jr. won this race in 2017 before finishing fourth last year.

He is one of only two drivers to finish inside the top-10 in all three races. His worst finish in the last three races at Watkins Glen is a seventh place finish in 2016 and he has led at least a lap in all three races.

He also won the only other road course race this year at Sonoma Raceway in dominating fashion.

Kyle Busch

Busch’s prowess at Watkins Glen is a close second to Truex Jr’s. Busch has the third best average finish, 5.3, of all drivers.

Busch has been out in front at Watkins Glen for 56 laps in the last three races. That is only five laps less than series-best Elliott. Similar to Truex Jr. Busch has led laps in all three of the past races. Two of those races he has led 20 laps or more.

Denny Hamlin celebrates in victory lane after winning for the fifth time at Pocono Raceway. (World Copyright: John Harrelson, NKP)

Denny Hamlin

Truex and Busch aren’t the only drivers from Joe Gibbs Racing to keep an eye on at Watkins Glen. Hamlin is one of just two drivers, Truex the other, to finish inside the top-5 in two of the past three races.

Hamlin won this race back in 2016 and has momentum from his race win at Pocono Raceway last weekend. Hamlin finished fifth earlier this season at Sonoma Raceway and has led at least two laps in two of the three races at Watkins Glen.

Follow Matt on Twitter @mattlovisa.

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