Nadeau's Watkins Glen notes

Jerry Nadeau: "Watkins Glen is a real driver's track. It's a fun track and I've always done well there. My first time there in a stock car was 1998 and it was a real learning experience. I don't mind being thought of as a road course expert,...

Jerry Nadeau: "Watkins Glen is a real driver's track. It's a fun track and I've always done well there. My first time there in a stock car was 1998 and it was a real learning experience. I don't mind being thought of as a road course expert, but there are a lot of other guys like Jeff (Gordon), Rusty (Wallace) and Tony (Stewart) who are really good, too. Plus, there are always specialists like Ron Fellows and Boris Said who can throw a real curve into things at road races."

"Happy Birthday to You!" -- Two MichaelHoligan.com team members will celebrate birthdays at Watkins Glen International this weekend. Gas man Danny "Foot" Robinson turns 41 Saturday, Aug. 12, while tire specialist James "Dude" Helm turns 39 Sunday, Aug. 13. Does celebrating your special day give you any additional incentive to win?

"Since it's going to be my birthday, the best present I could get would be a win," Helm said. "But, I tell Jerry that any weekend would be a good weekend to get a win. I'm sure the guys will have something set up for me for my birthday. Unfortunately, we're so busy on race weekends that you really never get a chance to have a party or anything like that. But at least Watkins Glen is a neat place. We do everything backward -- we even pit going in the opposite direction."

Going Home -- The MichaelHoligan.com team has a good representation of home folk when the NASCAR Winston Cup Series travels to Watkins Glen. Three team members -- scorer Karen Belden, chassis engineer Tim Nelson and front tire changer Shane Parsnow -- can visit family and friends when they return to their native New York this weekend. In fact, Nelson claims Oswego, N.Y. -- just 97 miles from Watkins Glen -- as his hometown. The remaining New Yorkers on the team, Doug Meyer and Raymond Schepler, won't get the chance to see relatives this weekend, however. Instead, they keep the No. 25 Chevrolets running well by putting in their time back at the Hendrick Motorsports shop in Harrisburg, N.C., rather than at the track.

"Watkins Glen is always a great party," Parsnow said. "There's a place called The Bog, which was part of the old Formula One track. On Friday nights it's just a big party. The traditional thing to do is to grab a little wagon, put your cooler in it and walk the track with your buddies the night before the race and tell tall stories about different parts of the track."

"Back in the 1980s, I was racing modifieds in upstate New York," Nelson recalled. "We all heard that Paul Newman was going to race at Watkins Glen in a sports car race, so we all went to the track to try and meet him. We did and he was great -- and a great driver, too. We also got to talk to his crew chief and got some good ideas on how to set up the car." Viggy's Dining Guide -- Nadeau's motorcoach driver, John "Viggy" Vignona, is a self-proclaimed connoisseur of the restaurants near each of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series tracks. The Long Island, N.Y., native highly recommends Joe's in Ithaca, N.Y.

"Joe's gets five steering wheels," said Vignona in rating the restaurant (stars don't fit his personality nearly as well). "That's one of the best places we'll eat all year. It's off Highway 13 at Buffalo Street. I know these things because I love this restaurant. It's one of Vignona's favorites -- and that's a quote!"

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Boris Said , Jerry Nadeau , Ron Fellows , Paul Newman