Dustin Off the Next Race: Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen

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Dustin Off the Next Race:  Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen
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Road course racing always presents a challenge to NASCAR. Some fans and drivers love it, some fans and drivers despise it.

One fact most agree on is that it's different, and it brings out the best in many drivers.

Watkins Glen presents even more challenges to the drivers because not only is it a road course, it is extremely fast. Cars are flying down the front straightaway, downhill, and trying to not wheel-hop just to get through turn one.

The run up the hill is just as fast, and even the inner loop is one of the fastest, and trickiest, corners in the sport.

It takes a lot of finesse to get around a road course, but at The Glen it's a combination of finesse and handling, because speed can only accomplish so much.

The final road race of the season is on tap. Let me dust off my picks for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen.

 

FAVORITES

Tony Stewart

There is simply no one better at this track right now than Smoke. Statistics speak for themselves.

He has five wins, seven top fives and nine top 10s in 11 races. He averages a fifth-place finish. Three years ago, he spun early in the race, and then capitalized on a mistake by Jeff Gordon to get the victory.

He cannot do wrong here. With no wins on the season, Stewart is hungry to get to victory lane. I have a feeling he's going to be extremely tough.

Jeff Gordon

Before Stewart got on his roll at Watkins Glen, this track was owned by Jeff Gordon. He has four wins here, including three straight from 1997-1999. His other win came in 2001.

Since then, Gordon hasn't had the best time at this track. He has only one top 10 since 2002, with two DNF's.

Add to the fact that he's now on baby watch as his wife, Ingrid, is set to give birth to their second child. Scott Pruitt is on standby if Ingrid goes into labor before Sunday. Gordon doesn't want to lose his second-place standing in the points, but unless he just takes the green flag and leaves to be with his wife, that's what could happen.

He will be a contender, whether he runs the entire 90-lap distance or turns over the wheel. Look out for the No. 24.

Marcos Ambrose

This man should already have a win this season. Ambrose had the victory at Infineon wrapped up, but his own mistake cost him the win.

Now, he has an opportunity for redemption. The two races he's run at this track he finished third and second.

There's only one more place to go...the top.

The No. 47 Toyota will not be driven by Ambrose after this season, but he wants to get a Sprint Cup win for this team before he leaves. No better place than at The Glen.

 

SLEEPERS

Kyle Busch

In between Stewart's wins in 2007 and 2009, it was Kyle Busch taking the checkered flag.

What was more impressive is that he got his first win on a road course earlier that year at Infineon, sweeping both races. Although he's known for going fast and not holding back, there's no question this young man can handle turning left and right.

While he's going for a record-tying 10th win in the Nationwide Series season on Saturday, don't slouch on him in the Cup race. He could surprise everyone when 90 laps come to an end.

Mark Martin

All right, it's been a long while since I've had this name in the sleeper category for Watkins Glen. But, after how this season is going for this team, I have no choice.

There is no question Martin is good here. Three wins from 1993-1995, 12 top fives, and 16 top 10s are undeniably good statistics. But, this season the No. 5 team has not gotten it done like many predicted, including me.

Martin is more than capable of winning; it's just a matter of him being in the right spot, having the right car, and the crew making the right calls.

 

Television coverage once again will be on ESPN, with Marty Reid, Andy Petree, and Dale Jarrett calling the action at 1 p.m. ET. NASCAR Countdown will preview the race with host Alan Bestwick and analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty.

I will also provide the Live Race Blog on Bleacher Report on Sunday.

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