Battle for the Sprint Cup comes to The Glen

Kevin Cole
Carl Edwards

For the past 22 years, NASCAR’s premier division has visited Watkins Glen International and the time has come for the series to make its annual trek to the famed 2.45-mile road course located just south of Seneca Lake.

With the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in full swing, Carl Edwards enters Watkins Glen as the most recent winner after scoring his fourth victory of the season last Sunday at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, leading the series overall, Kyle Busch also leads the series in victories with seven, including a victory at Infineon Raceway; the series’ other road course event in late June.

Last year Tony Stewart capitalized on Jeff Gordon’s late race spin in turn one to notch his fourth victory in the last six Watkins Glen races dating back to 2002.

While 2008 has not provided the results Stewart and his #20 Home Depot team have been looking for, Stewart is optimistic about his chances to score his first victory of the year and first since his victory at Watkins Glen in 2007.

“I’m excited to go back to The Glen,” Stewart said following the Pocono race.  “I love the road courses and we have historically had pretty good luck there,” Stewart added.

With the chase for the Sprint Cup only a handful of races away, Watkins Glen will undoubtedly play a key role for drivers fighting for a coveted spot in the 10 race playoff which will begin following the September race at the Richmond International Raceway.

Drivers on the bubble for the 12 driver chase include Stewart, who currently rides ninth in the standings, only 60 points in front of Matt Kenseth, who sits 13th in points only 11 points out of 12th place.

Also on the hot seat are Denny Hamlin, who is 10th in the standings 46 points ahead of 13th, Kevin Harvick, a former winner at Watkins Glen and Clint Bowyer, who rides 12th in the standings.

Also on tap for the weekend’s activities is a visit by the NASCAR Nationwide Series. This past week, former series winner Ron Fellows captured his first NASCAR victory in his home country of Canada at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

Kevin Harvick comes into the 82-lap event as the defending race winner, while Jimmie Johnson will make his first Nationwide Series start at Watkins Glen since 2001.

Clint Bowyer leads the series over Carl Edwards by 168 points and has scored one victory this season, coming early in the year at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Concluding the weekend’s racing activity will be the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, which will race in the twilight on Friday evening. Series points leaders Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas will look to complete the Watkins Glen sweep after winning the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen in June.

Meanwhile, Brian Frisselle and Mark Wilkins enter the night’s race as the most recent winners after picking up the victory at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, a conjunction event with the Nationwide Series last weekend.

For more information about this weekend’s Centurion Boats at the Glen activities, visit www.theglen.com.

Kevin Harvick