Watkins Glen: Round 24 preview

*NASCAR Nationwide Series Boasts Road Course Aces *Stand-Alones Have Stood Out This Season *International Flair Continues At Watkins Glen *In The Loop: Bowyer And Edwards Try To Reverse Fortunes NASCAR Nationwide Series Road Course Aces? Take ...

*NASCAR Nationwide Series Boasts Road Course Aces
*Stand-Alones Have Stood Out This Season
*International Flair Continues At Watkins Glen
*In The Loop: Bowyer And Edwards Try To Reverse Fortunes

NASCAR Nationwide Series Road Course Aces? Take Another Look

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 5, 2008) - Following its historic debut in the rain last week at Montreal, the NASCAR Nationwide Series moves to Watkins Glen for its final road-course race of the season.

When it comes to road-course racing, famous names like Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 12 Penske Truck Rental Dodge) and Dario Franchitti (No. 40 Fastenal Dodge), former Indy 500 winners, Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 STP Ford), who finished third at Montreal, Patrick Carpentier (No. 9 Tow Truck In a Box Dodge), who finished second at Montreal, and Robby Gordon (No. 55 Jim Beam Dodge) come to mind when thinking of who will be up front battling for the win this weekend in the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen.

But of the aforementioned road-course aces, none has won a NASCAR Nationwide Series road event. Instead look to the "NASCAR regulars" that have done quite well with right and left turns in their series careers.

Two-time series champion Kevin Harvick (No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet) won last year's inaugural race in Montreal and followed up with a win at the Glen.

Denny Hamlin (No. 32 Dollar General Stores Toyota), who spent two full seasons in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, won his first series race at Mexico City in 2006.

The hottest driver in NASCAR this season, Kyle Busch (No. 92 Zippo Toyota), the 2004 series Raybestos Rookie of the Year, won the Mexico City race this year. Busch has the most wins in the series this season of any driver with six.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., also a two-time series champion, won his only NASCAR road-course event to date at the Glen in 1999.

NASCAR Nationwide Series Stand-Alones Have Stood Out

The completion of the bulk of "stand alone" season produced tremendous races, history-making events, first-time winners and a standings race that's the closest it's been in three years.

Clint Bowyer (No. 2 BB&T Chevrolet) does have a comfortable lead, but that comfort zone might be crumbling some with the second-half surge of reigning series champion Carl Edwards (No. 60 Save-A-Lot Ford) who is back in second place for the first time in 12 weeks, 168 points behind Bowyer. In his last seven races, Edwards has two wins, three top fives, four top 10s and two 11th-place finishes to move back into contention. Series-only regular Brad Keselowski (No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) surrendered second to Edwards following the Montreal race but is only 16 points back in third.

One final stand-alone event remains on the schedule, Oct. 25 at Memphis.

Defending Zippo 200 Champion Returns To NASCAR Nationwide Series

Defending race winner and two-time series champion, Kevin Harvick (No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet) will be making his return to the series after a three-race hiatus to defend his crown at Watkins Glen International.

Last season Harvick rallied off two consecutive road course wins at Montreal and then The Glen driving for Richard Childress Racing. This season driving for his own team, Kevin Harvick Inc., he will try and muster his first win of the season. Harvick has posted one win, two top fives and four top 10s out of seven starts at The Glen.

This season he has made 14 starts in the No. 33 with six top fives and seven top 10s. He currently is 19th in the driver standings, and eighth in the owners' standings.

Harvick is ranked in the top-five of several NASCAR Pre-Race Loop Data categories for Watkins Glen. He is ranked second in Driver Rating (125.5), and ranked second in Average Running Position (5.823). He also is ranked fourth in Laps In The Top 15 with 90.3%.

Former Buffalo Bills Tight End Kevin Everett To Be Grand Marshal

Former Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett will serve as the Grand Marshal for the Zippo 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, August 9.

"We are pleased to welcome Kevin Everett as the Grand Marshal of the Zippo 200," said Zippo president and CEO Greg Booth. "His story has inspired people all across the country, especially those of us in this area who followed it so closely."

Everett won The Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at ESPN's annual ESPY Awards ceremony on July 20th after he was severely injured in last year's Buffalo Bill's season opener, but has begun to walk again.

Johnson Pulls Double-Duty For The Second Time This Season

2006-07 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) will be making his second series start this season for JR Motorsports at Watkins Glen International. Johnson's best series finish at The Glen was 21st in 2001.

International Flair Will Be Felt In The Garage At Watkins Glen

The international feel in the garage continues this weekend at Watkins Glen International. Five countries other than the United States will be representedAustralia, Canada, Italy, Mexico and Scotland.

Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 STP Ford) hails from Launceston, Australia where he won consecutive V8 Supercar titles in 2003-04. He heads to The Glen having posted two top-10 finishes at Mexico City in 2007-08, two top 10s at Montreal in 2007-08, and a seventh-place finish at Watkins Glen in '07.

Patrick Carpentier (No. 9 Tow Truck in a Box Dodge) is from Ville LaSalle, Quebec Canada. He heads to Watkins Glen having posted consecutive second-place finishes at Montreal in 2007-08, and a fifth-place finish at Mexico City this season.

Max Papis (No. 64 Atreus Homes and Communities Chevrolet) from Como, Italy heads to Watkins Glen having posted a career best 14th-place finish in 2006. In 2008, Papis posted a 20th-place finish at Montreal, and a 15th-place finish at Mexico City.

Antonio Perez (No. 86 Troy Williams Dodge) will be making his third career series start and his first in the United States. Perez is from Zapopan, Mexico. He made his two previous series starts at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City where he finished 42nd in 2007 due to transmission failure, and 34th in 2008.

Dario Franchitti (No. 40 Fastenal Dodge) from Edinburgh, Scotland, returns to the series after a three-race break to test his road racing skills at Watkins Glen. This will be his first start on a road course in the NASCAR Nationwide Series car.

Role Reversal: Bowyer, Edwards Look To Change Glen Fortunes

This weekend's race at Watkins Glen offers the field a chance to catch up to NASCAR Nationwide Series front-runners Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards.

Points leader Bowyer and second-place Edwards have struggled at Watkins Glen in the series. Usually among the leaders in all pre-race statistics, the two double-duty drivers are mid-pack in most stat categories.

In his two career Watkins Glen races, Bowyer has a Driver Rating of 79.8 (17th-best), an Average Running Position of 17.9 (22nd) and has a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 43%.

Meanwhile, in his three-race career at the Glen, Edwards has a Driver Rating of 76.9 (20th), an Average Running Position of 16.8 (19th) and a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 48.6%.

The race could be a chance for others to shine. Watch for series-regular Brad Coleman to make a run for the win. Coleman was strong last year in his only Watkins Glen start, finishing fifth. In the race, Coleman registered a Driver Rating of 91.2, an Average Running Position of 13.6 and ran 59.8% of the laps in the top 15 (49 of 82).

Also watch for usual Watkins Glen suspect Robby Gordon to run up front. He has a Driver Rating of 105.5 and an Average Running Position of 11.4 in three races since 2005 -- two of which were runner-up runs.

The Director's Take: Multiple Driving Conditions Face The Teams This Weekend

The NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to its third and final road course of the season at Watkins Glen International, coming off the first ever national series point's race in the rain. The teams are reviewing all their notes on how to improve the "wet" racing set-up. Teams have understood what it takes to make a Nationwide car turn left and right in dry conditions, now they need to go to work on what is needed in wet conditions.

The racing surface at The Glen is wider with sweeping banked turns; it also has the most elevation change than the other road courses we have raced on this year. This will lead to faster speeds around the circuit.

NNS Etc.

NASCAR CAM Video Teleconference

Robby Gordon (No. 55 Jim Beam Dodge) fielded media questions this week on Tuesday's NASCAR CAM Video Teleconference.

Q:What did you think about the racing in the rain at Montreal?

Gordon: I was kicking myself last weekend watching that because I do enjoy racing in the rain so much. It would have been a lot of fun. I think we were well prepared for that. We have done a lot of rain racing in the past. Our road race car for the Nationwide Series has defrosters, has windshield wipers, it has all the stuff that we would have needed for that event. It was kind of a bummer we weren't there...

Driver Using Resources To Draw Attention To A Good Cause

Brad Coleman (No. 27 Carino's Grill Ford) will boast a special partner to help raise awareness and funds for the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation this weekend at The Glen on the No. 27 car.

The associate sponsorship is set to announce Chris Paradysz's "Life without Lupus Ride for the Cure" where he will ride his bike, solo, to Daytona Beach, Fla. starting in New York City November 20th to raise awareness and money for Lupus research and a cure. Paradysz is a board member of the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and parent of a teenage daughter affected by the disease.

A website for donations will be set up soon for the official announcement of the ride at the annual Lupus Gala in New York City in November.

Manufacturers' Standings

Chevrolet won its fifth race of the season last Saturday and continued to cut into Toyota's lead in the Bill France Performance Cup standings.

Watkins Glen International bodes well for Chevrolet, which has won 10 of the 14 NASCAR Nationwide Series races at the track.

Dodge has two victories followed by one victory for Ford at the famed road course.

Landon Cassill Challenges For The Raybestos Rookie Of The Year Standings Lead

Landon Cassill (No. 4 Miccosukee Resorts Chevrolet) is six points out of the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings lead held by Bryan Clauson (No. 40 Fastenal Dodge). This weekend, Clauson will not be in the No. 40, but rather teammate Dario Franchitti will be behind the wheel giving Cassill the opportunity to take the lead.

Cassill will be making his third start this season for Phoenix Racing and owner James Finch. He started last weekend for the team at Montreal posting a 14th-place finish and, prior to that, at Mexico City where he finished 23rd.

Cassill has made a total of 13 starts this season 10 of which with JR Motorsports. He has posted four top 10s and a pole at New Hampshire.

Up Next: CARFAX 250 @ Michigan International Raceway

Next stop for the NASCAR Nationwide Series is Michigan International Raceway after two consecutive weekends of road-course racing.

Last year, Denny Hamlin won the CARFAX 250 at Michigan giving Joe Gibbs Racing its first series victory at the track.

Greg Biffle is the defending pole winner at Michigan, becoming the 14th different pole winner since its inception into the series schedule.


The Race: Zippo 200
The Place: Watkins Glen International

The Date: Saturday, August 9
The Time: 3 p.m. ET

The Distance: 200.9 miles / 82 laps
Track Size: 2.45-mile road course

TV: ABC, 2:30 p.m. ET

2007 Winner: Kevin Harvick
2007 Polesitter: Kurt Busch

Friday--Practice 1:30-3 p.m.; Final Practice 5:30-6:15 p.m.
Saturday--Qualifying, 10:10 a.m.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Robby Gordon , Kurt Busch , Max Papis , Patrick Carpentier , Dario Franchitti , Jimmie Johnson , Marcos Ambrose , Carl Edwards , Landon Cassill , Brad Coleman , Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin , Bryan Clauson , Jim Beam , Sam Hornish Jr. , Kyle Busch
Teams Williams , Richard Childress Racing , Phoenix Racing