News & Media


By the Numbers: Surprises and reprises highlight Watkins Glen

August 10, 2012, , NASCAR.com

For Starters

3 -- Kyle Busch has been passed for the final lead change in the past three Nationwide Series races at Watkins Glen; he's the only driver to finish in the top five in the past four races. Busch led a race-high 48 laps last year before being passed by Kurt Busch with eight laps left. Busch, who is still looking for his first win as an owner/driver in the No. 54 Toyota, has finished in the top five in five of his past six NNS starts on road courses, including three top-two finishes.

2 -- Kyle Busch has been passed for the final lead change in two of the past three Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen, including with just two to go in 2011; he's the only driver to finish in the top 10 in the past six races. Busch only has two top-10s in the past nine races this season and has fallen out of Chase position, currently 15th in points and fourth in the wild-card race. Twelve of his 24 wins have come at the next five tracks, including one at Watkins Glen (2008).

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NATIONWIDE SERIES

Breakout Number

10 -- Eleven races in NNS history have been won by foreign-born drivers; 10 of them were won on road courses, including six of the past 11 races and the past two. Ron Fellows (Ontario) and Marcos Ambrose (Tasmania) lead the way with four wins each; both have three victories at Watkins Glen. Foreign-born drivers also have accounted for 11 poles in series history; 10 of them were on road courses, including six of the past 10 races. Foreign-born drivers entered in this week's race: Louis-Philippe Dumoulin (Trois-Rivieres, Quebec); Victor Gonzalez Jr. (San Juan, Puerto Rico); Kenny Habul (Etobicoke, Ontario); Daryl Harr (St. Albert, Alberta); Fellows (Mississauga, Ontario); Miguel Paludo (Nova Prata, Brazil); and Derek White (Kahnawake, Quebec).

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Track Tidbits

1 -- There has been one last-lap pass at Watkins Glen: Dale Earnhardt Jr. passed Ron Fellows on the final lap in 1999. That race set records for youngest winner (Junior was age 24 years, 8 months, 17 days), fewest laps led by a winner (2) and most laps led by a non-winner (52). Fellows became the oldest race winner (41 years, 9 months, 10 days) in 2001.

6.3 -- Brad Keselowski has a 6.3 average finish at Watkins Glen, the best of any driver entered in this week's race. Keselowski has finished in the top 10 in all three of his starts, with a best of fourth in his most recent race, in 2010.

8 -- Ron Fellows leads all drivers at Watkins Glen with eight top-10s, including the past three races for JR Motorsports (for which he is driving this week in the No. 5 Chevrolet). From 1998-2001, Fellows won three times and finished second driving the No. 87 Chevy of Joe Nemechek. He led all but 11 of his track-best 189 laps led during that four-race stretch.

Recent Trends

1 -- Carl Edwards is making his first Nationwide Series start of the season. In his past nine series races he has won three times, finished second three times and finished third three times. Edwards' 37 wins are tied for third with Kevin Harvick, his 27 poles rank third all time and his 129 top-five finishes rank second all time. The 2007 series champion is a two-time winner on road courses; his best finish in seven Watkins Glen races is third.

3 -- The past three races held at Watkins Glen set track records, with Kurt Busch currently holding the mark (106.582 mph); Busch also set the track qualifying record last year (123.241 mph). Not including Indianapolis, where the NNS competed for the first time, there have been four track records set in 2012: Iowa, Road America, Kentucky and Iowa again.

5 -- Richard Childress Racing's No. 33 car has led the most laps in five different races this season, the most of all cars, but remains winless in 20 races. Paul Menard, entered in the car this week, has led the most laps in two of his three races in the No. 33 this year, including a runner-up finish at Texas after starting from the pole; he has finished in the top 10 in all three races. Menard has three top-10s in six races at Watkins Glen, including a sixth-place finish last year in the 33 when it raced under the Kevin Harvick Inc. banner.

6 -- Six of the past nine series races on road courses have been won from the front row, including four from the pole. The first road-course race this year, at Road America, was won from the pole. Ten of the 18 races at Watkins Glen have been won from the front row, including the past three; six have been won from the pole, including the past two.

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SPRINT CUP SERIES

Breakout Number

7 -- Seven of the past 11 road-course races have been won by drivers scoring their first road-course victory. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth, the top two drivers in points, each have made 25 road-course starts without a win -- Junior's best finish is third, at Watkins Glen in 2003; he hasn't finished better than 15th in the past six races. Kenseth's best is eighth, at Sonoma in '08; he has not posted a top-five in 12 Watkins Glen starts. In fact, Watkins Glen is one of three tracks at which Kenseth has not scored a top-five, joining Sonoma and Kentucky. Greg Biffle, who is third in points, has made 19 road-course starts without a win; his best is fourth, at Sonoma in 2006. Five of his nine Watkins Glen finishes have been 30th or worse. Carl Edwards, currently out of the Chase, is winless in 15 starts with a best of third, at Sonoma in 2011. He has five top-10s in seven Watkins Glen starts.

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Track Tidbits

4 -- Marcos Ambrose is the only driver to finish in the top five in the past four races at Watkins Glen. He has one win (2010), one runner-up and two third-place finishes (2.25 average) in his four starts there.

5 -- Watkins Glen is one of five tracks at which Jimmie Johnson hasn't won. His best finish in 10 races is third in 2007; he has five top-10s. Johnson has started in the top 10 in the past eight races, but only has led 11 laps.

44 -- NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2013 inductee Buck Baker led all 44 laps in the inaugural race at Watkins Glen in 1957. Baker started from the pole in his own No. 87 Chevrolet and beat Fireball Roberts by .46 of a mile on the then 2.3-mile road course. The win paid $1,000.

Recent Trends

2 -- Jeff Gordon only has two top-10s at Watkins Glen in the past 10 races since his last win there, in 2001. He has finished worse than 20th five times since.

5 -- The road-course races have been swept five times since 1989, when the two current tracks (Sonoma and Watkins Glen) have been on the schedule: Jeff Gordon (1998, '99); Robby Gordon (2003); Tony Stewart (2005); and Kyle Busch (2008). 2012 Sonoma winner Clint Bowyer has one top-10 in six Watkins Glen races.

9 -- Tony Stewart has finished in the top two in nine of the past 16 road-course races, including five wins. Stewart has five wins (most of any driver) and two seconds in the past 10 races at Watkins Glen.

71 -- It's been 71 races since Juan Montoya's last win, at Watkins Glen in 2010. It's the sixth-longest active winless streak in the Cup Series. Montoya has finished in the top 10 in the past four races at Watkins Glen.

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