Road course race #2 of the 2019 season is set to run today at Watkins Glen International. The last time we raced at this track, Chase Elliott went to victory lane for the first time in his career, and this weekend’s he’ll pick up right where he left off, as the #9 Chevrolet is on the pole for this year’s race.
Click here for the starting lineup for this weekend’s race at Watkins Glen International. Also if you’d like to analyze the results from Saturday’s first practice, you can do so by clicking here. For speeds from the second practice (Happy Hour), click here.
*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on Sunday.*
Go Bowling at The Glen Slingshot Picks
Chase Elliott ($11,700) – I’m going to take a little different roster approach this weekend and skip out on the “big dogs” and instead have this week’s pole sitter as the anchor of my lineup. Here’s the thing about Chase Elliott: he’s in desperate need of a good run, and we’re at the track where he scored his first career Cup Series win. Not to mention he has a super fast car this weekend. Chase is in the midst of a horrible slump that even someone like Corey LaJoie would call awful, but all he needs is a little good luck and he could very well challenge for the win at Watkins Glen today. Chase had top 5 speed in both practice sessions on Saturday and was a solid top 5 car during the entire race at Sonoma earlier this year before his engine blew. With him starting on the pole, ideally I’d like Chase to lead the most laps and get a bunch of stage points for my Slingshot team since he won’t be able to get any place differential points.
Erik Jones ($11,000) – It’s foolish to bet against Joe Gibbs Racing at Watkins Glen, and lately it’s been foolish to bet against Erik Jones no matter where we’re racing at. This #20 Toyota has finished 3rd or better in each of the last three Cup Series races, and what’s most impressive about that is that it has been at three entirely different tracks: Kentucky (intermediate), New Hampshire (short), and Pocono (huge flat). Jones is 2-for-2 here at Watkins Glen in terms of top 10 finishes, and at Sonoma earlier this year he ended up finishing 8th despite starting way back in 32nd. He’ll start from 14th today at The Glen, so there’s still room for place differential points.
Ryan Blaney ($10,700) – So just so there’s no confusion today, Ryan Blaney will have to drop to the rear of the field today on the pace laps, but he’s still going to be scored from his original starting spot of 19th. That’s because this #12 Ford passed inspection but the team made unapproved adjustments, which causes the “start from the rear” penalty and doesn’t disqualify Blaney’s time. With that being said, I’m not too worried about him having to make his way through the field today. We’ve seen it done before, and Ryan Blaney is actually a very talented road course driver. He’s finished 12th and 8th in the last two races here at Watkins Glen, and earlier this year at Sonoma he came home 3rd. In Happy Hour here on Saturday, Blaney ranked 3rd-best behind Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
Ryan Newman ($9,200) – “The Rocketman” qualified 25th for this year’s Go Bowling at The Glen, so this is a pure place differential pick for Sunday’s race. The thing about Newman, though, is that he’ll probably end up with a really good finish, too. The #6 Ford finished 7th at Sonoma back in June despite starting back in 7th, which is part of Newman’s current hot streak he’s on (five top 10 finishes in the last seven races with only one result worse than 14th). Here at The Glen, Newman is a pretty consistent performer with seven finishes between 11th and 19th in the last nine races. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he challenges for a top 10 finish here today.
Daniel Hemric ($7,200) – After a 7th-place finish at Pocono last weekend, I’m going to go ahead and stay aboard this Daniel Hemric train, at least for another week. This #8 team is now clicking pretty well and have ended up between 7th and 19th in six of the last eight races. That includes Sonoma back in June where Daniel started back in 25th and ended up 15th when the checkered flag flew. He starts a little better here today (23rd) but I still think Hemric has a decent shot at coming home with a mid-teens finish. Another option you could go with in this final slot is Matt DiBenedetto ($7,800), who finished 4th at Sonoma earlier this year and qualified 20th for today’s race at Watkins Glen. You’d just have to find a little cap savings from one of the guys above.