Considering he is going for a three-peat at Watkins Glen this weekend, Marcos Ambrose was the easy pick to top the driver rankings heading into the weekend. After winning the pole for Sunday's race, he is an even easier choice to remain at the No. 1 spot. In addition to his back-to-back wins at the road course, Ambrose has a series-leading 2.0 average finish in five starts at the track and has never finished worse than third. A dominating performance could be on tap for Ambrose Sunday, and even if he doesn't win, he is the safest bet to deliver a strong finish.
Bowyer shooting up ranks
Holding on to the No. 2 spot in the rankings heading into race day is Kyle Busch. He already owns an impressive resume at Watkins Glen, and he followed a pair of strong practice sessions Friday with a top-five effort in qualifying. Meanwhile, Busch has finished in the top 10 in his last seven starts at Watkins Glen, winning in 2008 and posting a 5.6 average finish during the stretch.
While Ambrose and Busch simply hold their ground in the rankings, Michael Waltrip Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer both move soundly into the top 10. Both drivers have been fast all weekend, practicing and qualifying in the top five. In fact, Bowyer and Truex will roll off second and third Sunday. Truex also won at Sonoma earlier this year and has finished in the top five in five of his last six starts at Watkins Glen. Bowyer on the other hand has finished 11th or better in three of his last four starts at The Glen, and he won at Sonoma in 2011. Fantasy owners may want to add both to their lineups this weekend.
A.J. Allmendinger also deserves the attention of fantasy owners, and he remains in the top 10 of the driver rankings heading into the weekend. His practice times were solid, and more importantly, Allmendinger qualified fourth. Not to mention the fact that in four starts at Watkins Glen, he has never finished outside the top 15. Allmendinger's 9.0 average finish at the track is the fourth-best in the series, and he has finished in the top 10 in his last two starts at the track. He may be a sleeper most weeks, but he is a starter in all formats this weekend.
Fantasy owners looking for a legitimate sleeper option this weekend may want to consider Michael McDowell. He has had a lot of success at road courses while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series in recent years, and although he is normally a start-and-park driver in the Cup Series, he has a one-race deal with Front Row Motorsports this weekend that will allow him to run for the win. McDowell got his weekend off to a fast start Saturday, qualifying 12th. A top-20 finish isn't out of the question.
About Brian Polking
Racing has been part of Brian's life ever since he can remember, and he spent his childhood at dirt tracks throughout Ohio and Kentucky watching his father race. NASCAR naturally became his favorite sport, and he has been following the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series for most of his life. Brian majored in journalism and economics at Ohio State University and becoming a sports writer has always been his dream. Although he has covered everything from minor league baseball to the NCAA tournament, his passion has always been NASCAR. Brian has served as a NASCAR writer for a variety of sites, eventually becoming head editor of the NASCAR section for Fanball.com. His knowledge of NASCAR comes from his life-long love of racing, and he tries to add a personal touch to every article he writes. Brian is always up for talking NASCAR with anyone that wants to. Brian joined KFFL's team in 2011.
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