BUSCH: Watkins Glen: Round 24 preview

* Rivalries Revisited This Weekend At Watkins Glen * Carpentier Heads List of Montreal "Returnees" * In the Loop: Robby Gordon Tops The Glen's Stat Charts Road-Course Redux: Montoya, Pruett Combine With Gordon, Ambrose DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug.

* Rivalries Revisited This Weekend At Watkins Glen
* Carpentier Heads List of Montreal "Returnees"
* In the Loop: Robby Gordon Tops The Glen's Stat Charts

Road-Course Redux: Montoya, Pruett Combine With Gordon, Ambrose

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 7, 2007) -- The season's third and final road-course race brings with it arguably the most anticipation ahead of a NASCAR Busch Series event this year.

One look at four key players explains why.

In March at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Wrigley's Big Red Dodge) made history by becoming the first Hispanic driver to win in any of NASCAR's national series. That he accomplished the feat on a road course wasn't a complete surprise.

But the way he raced his Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates teammate Scott Pruett (No. 41 Wrigley's Juicy Fruit Dodge) was. Montoya moved Pruett out of the way on Lap 73 to take the lead and ultimately the win.

That duo returns to race against each other for the first time since then at Watkins Glen International.

But the intrigue doesn't stop there.

Last week's inaugural series event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal yielded another late-race get-together that prompts heightened interest this week.

The Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 Kingsford Ford) -- Robby Gordon (No. 55 Verizon Wireless Ford) competition also will resume at The Glen. Ambrose was seemingly en route to his first career win when an incident with Gordon with two laps to go removed him from contention for the victory.

"I think we showed a lot at Montreal and had as good a pace as anybody," Ambrose said. "That we didn't take our first victory was not our own doing but the beauty of NASCAR is that when you race every weekend, you don't have much of a chance to look back because the next race is always around the corner."

Carpentier Returns To NASCAR For "Double Duty" Racing At The Glen

Montreal's native open-wheel son is back for more NASCAR racing following his stunning debut last week at his home track.

Patrick Carpentier (No. 22 Supercuts Dodge) is entered in Saturday's race for Fitz Motorsports and also in Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event, driving the No. 10 Valvoline Dodge in place of Scott Riggs.

Last week, Carpentier won the Busch Pole in his first NASCAR national series qualifying attempt, then promptly set the pace at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, leading the first six laps -- 14 overall -- before finally drag-racing two-time series champion Kevin Harvick (No. 21 AutoZone Chevrolet) for the victory. Carpentier finished second.

In The Loop: Top Road Course Stats Add To "Round Two" Rivalries At Watkins Glen

This weekend at Watkins Glen International should be entitled "Round Two."

The bell rings once again for two pairs of drivers.

The first is the story of Robby Gordon and Marcos Ambrose. Their "rivalry" started last weekend in Montreal, as Gordon took Ambrose out of the race.

At the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road-course, Ambrose had race-best stats in a number of categories: Driver Rating (133.4), Average Running Position (2.9), Fastest Laps Run (14) and Green Flag Speed (94.332 mph). Figure those stats to translate well at Watkins Glen.

Gordon, likewise, has impressive road course numbers -- especially at The Glen. He was runner-up in each of the last two NASCAR Busch Series races there and racked up impressive stats in each. Over the past two years, Gordon has a Watkins Glen Driver Rating of 125.8, an Average Running Position of 6.1, 32 Fastest Laps Run and has spent 146 of 165 laps in the top 15.

Gordon also has 52 Quality Passes -- passes of cars in the top 15 under green -- which is more than any other driver.

Then there's the rivalry between teammates Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Pruett. Montoya got into the back of Pruett at this year's Mexico City race, and eventually went on to win.

At Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Montoya earned a near-perfect Driver Rating of 149.2 (150.0 is the maximum), an Average Running Position of 3.9 and led all drivers in Fastest Laps Run with 33.

Pruett, a road-course ace, usually runs up front at Watkins Glen. At the upstate New York road course over the last two years, Pruett has a Driver Rating of 93.9, an Average Running Position of 12.9 and 117 Laps in the Top 15.

-credit: nascar

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Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing