Five races remain until the cut-off for the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship and this week, NASCAR’s best tackle the 11 right and left turns of the season's second and last road course event.
That means that this week the Creatures will be shooting for the correct winner of the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen. Last week three of our creatures correctly predicted that Denny Hamlin would bring home his first win of the season at Pocono.
Here are this weekend’s picks for Watkins Glen:
Ben Bomberger: Juan Pablo Montoya
Though I'm positive I won't be the only one to pick Montoya this weekend, I think this guy is due for a win and this weekend is the perfect opportunity.
Montoya is a road course ace and is currently proving he can get it done on the ovals as well—with three top-10 finishes in his last four starts, including a runner-up last weekend at the rain-delayed Pocono race.
While he has made only two starts at The Glen, Montoya has one top-five, one top-10, an average finish of 21.5 and an average running position of 11.8 (fifth-best). His Driver Rating of 97.7 is sixth-best and his 13 fastest laps run ranks him fifth.
Although I almost didn't pick him because I fear he will continue with "points-racing" this weekend. I think Montoya will go for all the marbles and bring home a win this weekend in New York.
James Broomhead: Marcos Ambrose
After repeating by picking Hamlin last week and getting a win, I feel I should repeat again by picking the Aussie for the second road course race. He finished third at Sonoma, so what can he do at the Glen (where he's arguably better)?
The answer hopefully is "win," although I'd prefer if he didn't try and do it from the back of the pack this time.
Mary Jo Buchanan: Juan Pablo Monyota
My pick for Sunday is Juan Pablo Montoya. I think he is so focused and driven right now that he will be a Heluva Good winner at the Glen!
Kelly Crandall: Tony Stewart
By far one of the road course kings. Stewart leads the way on the statistic charts when it comes to Watkins Glen this weekend and was second at Sonoma when I picked him for that race. Hopefully this weekend he can do one spot better at a track that I feel he is much better at.
Stewart’s average finish is 5.7, has led 191 laps and has four wins; you just can’t get much better than that.
Mason Dunn: No Pick Sent
No pick sent.
Adam Heasley: Marcos Ambrose
No comments sent.
Danielle Henderson: Tony Stewart
I was torn between Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart this week. Both drivers are very good on road courses.
I picked Tony Stewart because he has had a better season and with Jeff Gordon's back condition I am not sure how he will hold up during this weekends road course race. So I am counting on Stewart to make me proud this week.
Kara Martin: Tony Stewart
Yeah, yeah...so I've picked him for the last couple of weeks, but have not gotten results. Stewart dominates at The Glen, so I have to go with the stats again this week in hopes that it will pay off.
No real method to my madness this week, just hoping to see Stewart make it back to Victory Lane!
SM Napier: Marcos Ambrose
He'll get his first win in Cup at Watkins Glen, should qualify well, run a great race and win it using pit strategy.
Kyle Ocker: Tony Stewart
Over the last four Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen, no driver has been better then Stewart, who has two wins and two runner-up finishes in those events.
He also has a pattern of a win every other year, which means since he finished second last year, he will win this year. Plus, he is by far the best performing and consistent driver this year.
David Phillips: Jimmie Johnson
He’s the man.
Jen Preston: Juan Pablo Montoya
His average finish at the Glen is 21.5, but we've seen JPM win on a road course before, and in the last eight races his worst finish is 12th. It's only a matter of time before he enters Victory Lane, and the time for Montoya is now.
Rob Tiongson: Jeff Gordon
Am I going out of a limb here with my pick? Nah, I didn't think so. He's got four wins here and this was the track where Gordon started his road course dominance 12 years ago.
That said, I look for this to be a weekend where we'll see win number two for the newest 38-year-old driver on the circuit.
Here is another look at the writer’s standings after last weekend’s race in Pocono.
Ben Bomberger (3073) Montoya finished second (1).
Kelly Crandall (2932) Mark Martin finished seventh (1).
M.J. Buchanan (2891) Kasey Kahne finished fifth (0).
S.M. Napier (2829) Tony Stewart finished tenth (2).
Adam Heasley (2774) No pick sent (3).
David Phillips (2379) Jimmie Johnson finished 13th (2).
James Broomhead (1537) Denny Hamlin won (2).
Kara Martin (1432) Tony Stewart finished 10th (1).
Mason Dunn (1377) Tony Stewart finished 10th (0).
Danielle Henderson (1321) Denny Hamlin won (1).
Rob Tiongson (1320) Jimmie Johnson finished 13th (1).
Jen Preston (1143) Denny Hamlin won (1).
Kyle Ocker (848) No Pick Sent (0).
Writers: Once again, the deadline is noon on Thursday. Three of you were very late, but because people were telling me that since I just took over, I should let it slide.
This however, will be it. If any more picks come in after noon on Thursday, I don't care who you are, you are going to be locked out.