Here’s what everyone need to know for today’s race at The Glen.
Today, NASCAR returns to Watkins Glen International for the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen. It’s the 22nd race of the 2015 season, second road course race of the season and the 33rd time NASCAR has visited the track in upstate New York.
NASCAR first visited the track in 1957 and the race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker. It was also the first ever race run at the newly constructed Watkins Glen Grand Prix Circuit. It would be another seven years before the series returned to the Finger Lakes region where the next two races were won by Billy Wade and Marvin Panch. After a 21 year hiatus, NASCAR returned to The Glen and have been racing there since 1986.
Watkins Glen International is a 2.45 mile (3.94 km) track that has hosted just about every major form of racing that include NASCAR, IndyCar, sportscar racing and was the home of Formula 1 in the United States for 20 years.
A lap around The Glen begins with a run down the front-stretch before hitting the brakes to round the right hand 90* turn 1. The cars proceed downhill before climbing up the right-left-right uphill series of turns known as the Esses. This is followed by a straight-line, even-hilled dash down the back straight before hitting the brakes to navigate the right-left-left right inner loop (a.k.a. the bus stop chicane). Once a car exits the inner loop, they’re back on the brakes for the downhill right hander turn 5 (a.k.a. the outer loop). The cars use the short chute to bypass the boot section of the course. After running down the chute, the cars hit the brakes to make the left handed turn 10. They make one last right handed turn at 11 and proceed back onto the front-stretch.
A. J. Allmendinger will lead the field to the green flag today in hopes of repeating his win at The Glen last year. He’ll be joined on the front row by Martin Truex Jr. Tony Stewart starts third in his first race at Watkins Glen since 2012. Teammate and points leader Kevin Harvick starts fourth. Jeff Gordon, the all-time winningest road course driver in NASCAR history, starts fifth in his 46th and final road course race. He’s got four wins at Watkins Glen, but none since 2001. In fact, he’s only finished in the top ten twice at The Glen since that last win. His last top ten here was a tenth in 2010. Since then, he’s finished 13th, 21st, 36th and 34th.
One notable is Justin Allgaier starting 12th. This is especially notable compared to teammate Michael Annett who qualified 40th.
The race will go green at 2:18 p.m. Eastern time or 7:18 p.m. in the U.K. I’ll be back after the checkered flag flies to recap all the action. Until then, enjoy the race.