NASCAR’s annual race at Watkins Glen will kick off on Sunday without five-time winner Tony Stewart. While Stewart’s absence has been noticeable, both in the field and in the garage, it has opened up the possibility of other winners.
The Glen is one of three road course races NASCAR runs. Along with the New York Race, the Sprint Cup Series also races at Sonoma Speedway in California, while the Nationwide Series raced at Wisconsin’s Road America.
While some NASCAR drivers will have a tougher time with a road course instead of an oval track, others will shine. And that includes Australian Marcos Ambrose, who took his first NASCAR pole at Watkins on Saturday, reports Fox Sports.
Ambrose went into qualifying upset with his team over their inability to find balance in the car during practice. But after he shattered the Cup track record on Saturday, the Australian quickly changed his tune. He commented, “They did a good job to calm me down and not overreact to what I was saying, and it worked out really well.”
Ambrose has also won the last two races at Watkins Glen, earning him an easy spot in the list of possible winners. Juan Pablo Montoya was considered the favorite for every road race when he first joined NASCAR. While he is no longer number one, Montoya will likely be a serious threat for Ambrose to contend with.
USA Today notes that A.J. Allmendinger will certainly be a contender as well. The driver qualified fourth with the No. 47 car and won Road America in June. He also has five wins in the Champ Car World Series, all on street or road circuits.
Along with Allmendinger, Ambrose, and Montoya, others to watch will be Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, and Martin Truex Jr., who all qualified in the top five. Tony Stewart’s replacement, Max Papis, will start at Watkins Glen in 29th place.
Who do you want to win NASCAR’s race at Watkins Glen International?