Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY — August 4, 2019
Chase Elliott(9) sits on the pole for today’s Go Bowling at the Glen from Watkins Glen International. That’s not surprising, Elliott won here last year, his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and he loves the track.
Jimmie Johnson(48) has a new crew chief, Cliff Daniels will be making the calls on the box for the seven-time champion who is currently on the outside of the playoff standings. A change may just be what it takes to fire up the team and get them into the postseason on points or possibly break the winless streak with a visit to victory lane.
The Glen is a 2.45-mile road course and 90 laps make up the 220.5-mile distance of the race. Stages are 20/20/50. On average drivers shift 9 times a lap, it’s a tough course on equipment. The track is also fast, make a mistake and trouble will find you quickly.
A clean start to the race quickly spread the field out single file. But, it did not take long for passing to start. With Elliott out front, Kyle Busch(18) tried to pass William Byron(24) in Turn 1 on the second lap. Busch drove in too deep and spun 360 degrees without contact with anyone else. He quickly recovered and only dropped to 10th. Kyle Busch opted not to pit after the spin, even though his tires were likely flat-spotted.
Elliott dominated Stage 1 building a six-second lead by the time the green and white checkered flag waved. Several drivers pitted with three laps to go in an attempt to improve track position. Among those pitting early and staying on the track for Stage ending stops were Kevin Harvick(4), Clint Bowyer(14), and Alex Bowman(88).
Stage 1 Results
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||8|
* Ford Mustang Drivers
Kyle Larson(42) did not pit at the end of the stage. Kyle Busch was too fast exiting pit road on his Stage ending pit stop. The drive-thru penalty sent Busch to the rear of the field on the restart. Elliott, who exited the pits 1st, restarted in 5th.
Showing the speed he qualified with Elliott worked his way around the cars in front of him and began to build the lead again. A full-course caution for fluid on the race track with seven laps to go in Stage 2 set up a dash for the Stage bonus points.
The race restarted with four laps to go. Elliott again drove off in the lead, Martin Truex Jr.(19) passed Harvick with Bowyer running in 4th. Truex has been the only car all day to stay within touch of Elliott. Bubba Wallace(43) hit the wall bringing out another full-course caution, ending the Stage under the yellow flag.
Stage 2 Results
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||9|
* Ford Mustang Drivers
The Final Stage
The top four remain the same on the restart, Elliott, Truex, Harvick, and Bowyer. Elliott again gets a great restart, but Truex is able to stay within striking distance. The pair open a sizeable gap on the rest of the field.
Elliott pitted with 30 laps to go, handing the lead to Truex. On the next lap, Truex pitted. He returned to the track in virtually the same position just behind Elliott. While cars were pitting, Ryan Blaney(12) got into the rear bumper of Johnson sending seven-time into the tire barrier. That will hurt Johnson’s playoff push. Kyle Bush and Bubba Wallace repeatedly banged doors down the front stretch. Busch pushed Bubba into the grass and Wallace retaliated by hooking Busch’s bumper and sending him into a spin heading to Turn 1.
The caution allowed pit stops to cycle through, the race restarted with Elliott, Truex, Hamlin, and Harvick at the front.
On the restart, Truex was able to hang with Elliott side-by-side. The two banged doors through the first four turns on the track until Elliott prevailed. Elliott radioed his crew that he may have a tire going down as a result of the contact with Truex. Apparently, the concern was unfounded as he opened a slight half-second advantage on Truex.
The lead remained consistent, narrowing on certain parts of the course, expanding on other corners. With five laps to go Truex closed as Elliott ran into lapped traffic, Truex could not reach Elliott’s bumper. Once clear, Elliott stretched out the lead again. Elliott, running perfect laps, held off Truex for his second win in a row at The Glen.
Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman entered the race tied on the bubble for the last two playoff spots. Jimmie Johnson 12 points out and Daniel Suarez 31 back of 16th needed strong finishes to close the gap.
Because Elliott won previously this year, his victory has no impact on those battling for the final playoff spots on points. Erik Jones continued his run of top finishes with a 4th and moved clear of the cut line by 54 points. A top 10 for Kyle Larson has him 46 points up on 16th. Clint Bowyer entered the Glen tied on the bubble and leaves 12 points to the good.
Jimmie Johnson sits on the bubble, tied with Ryan Newman at 544 points. Johnson owns the tiebreaker. Suarez climbed 8 points closer to the cut line and still has a chance to make it on points. Paul Menard and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are going to need a win to make the postseason.
Kyle Busch leads Joey Logano by 13 points in the race for the regular-season title.
Next week the series returns to Michigan International Speedway. Look to The Lasco Press for week-long live coverage from our home track in the beautiful Irish Hills. Tickets remain available, join us for all the exciting NASCAR action. Friday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice and qualifying. Saturday the Gander Outdoors Truck Series runs in the Corrigan Oil 200. The Consumer’s Energy 400 closes out the action on Sunday. See ya at the track.
Playoff Point Standings
|Rank||Driver||Points||+/- Cut Line||Wins||Stage Wins||Playoff Points|
|5||Martin Truex Jr.||753||In||4||2||22|
|Playoff Cut Line|
|20||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||466||-78||0||0||0|
Results of the Go Bowling at the Glen from Watkins Glen International
|2||19||Martin Truex Jr.||90|
|15||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||90|