Team Penske Takes Top Spots in Watkins Glen Starting Lineup

Team Penske

Getty (L-R) Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Blaney race at Phoenix.

The NASCAR Cup Series returns from a two-week break on Sunday, Aug. 8, with a race at Watkins Glen International. There will be no practice or qualifying sessions for the road course race, so NASCAR officials set the starting lineup through its special formula. The result is that Brad Keselowski will start on the Busch Pole while teammate Joey Logano joins him on the front row.

The Penske-heavy lineup continues with Ryan Blaney in the third position, next to Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson on the second row. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin make up the third row while JGR’s Christopher Bell and SHR’s Aric Almirola take row four. JGR’s Martin Truex Jr. and HMS driver Alex Bowman will round out the top 10.

The Go Bowling at the Glen Cup Series race will take place on Aug. 8 at 3 p.m. ET while NBC Sports Network provides coverage. With Keselowski and Logano at the front of the pack, the drivers will head around the 2.45-mile road course on pace laps while preparing for the green flag. They will then fight for the checkered flag and one of the precious few remaining spots in the playoffs.

The Favorite To Win Starts Outside the Top 10

Chase Elliott

GettyHendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott prepares for Road America.

While a past Watkins Glen winner in Truex will start the race in the ninth position, another driver with considerable success at the road course will be outside the top 10. Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott will begin the day in 11th as he fights for his third consecutive victory at Watkins Glen.

The defending Cup Series champion is the favorite to lock up his third win of the season. According to NASCAR, Elliott enters the weekend with 9-5 odds to reach Victory Lane. Larson is second on the list with 9-2 odds while Truex is third at 13-2.

One interesting name to watch is Kyle Busch. The JGR driver has two past wins at Watkins Glen — 2008 and 2013 — and is midway through a bounce-back campaign after struggling mightily in 2020. Busch will enter the race with 7-1 odds to win, fourth-best among the Cup drivers. Though he will have to make moves after starting 20th.

Two Cup Series Regulars Will Take Early Laps at Watkins Glen

With NASCAR returning to Watkins Glen after a year away due to COVID-19, there is a concern about some drivers being “rusty” on Aug. 8. Some are taking preemptive steps to avoid any potential issues by competing in the Xfinity Series race on Aug. 7.

Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon will suit up for Our Motorsports while working with CrossFit Mayhem, a world-famous gym in Cookeville, Tenn. He will drive the No. 23 Chevrolet Camaro while using the Xfinity Series race as a refresher ahead of the Go Bowling at the Glen.

Similarly, Richard Petty Motorsports driver Erik Jones will take part in the Xfinity Series race. He will partner with Jordan Anderson Racing and climb into the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro. Jones will be the fifth driver to suit up for the team as he joins Tyler Reddick, Kaz Grala, Josh Berry, and owner Jordan Anderson.

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