5 August 2009
Stewart, Gordon look to preserve Glen record.
With a trip to historic Watkins Glen International next on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule for Sunday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen, plenty of talk will centre on the road-course experts who annually challenge the NASCAR regulars on the 2.45-mile circuit.
Yet, to find the most successful drivers at The Glen, look no further than two of the top three drivers in the series standings, as Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon share the lead in victories at the circuit, with four apiece.
Gordon won his four races over a five-year span, with three consecutive triumphs from 1997-99, before adding another victory in 2001. All in all, he has six top five finishes at The Glen, along with two poles, while Stewart has a simialr finishing record, and can count victories four victories in the six years between 2002-07. He placed second in last year's race behind the Joe Gibbs team-mate Kyle Busch.
In addition to his victories at Watkins Glen, Stewart has also won twice at the other road course on the Sprint Cup Series schedule, Infineon Raceway, and finished second in California this in June following an exciting battle with Kasey Kahne.
The current points leader, Stewart has a spot in the Chase all but locked up, and can conceivably clinch it this weekend if he extends his current 726-point lead over 13th-place - presently occupied by Busch - to 781 points.
“While both road courses, the two tracks are still pretty different,” Stewart said of Infineon and the Glen, “At Watkins Glen, you don't have to finesse the throttle near as much as you do at Sonoma. When you get the car turned, you can get in the gas and then stay in the gas. Watkins Glen is much faster than Sonoma.
"I think there are the same amount of passing opportunities but, because of the speeds that you're able to run at The Glen, brakes become a much bigger factor than I think they are at Sonoma. It's pretty much a horsepower track.”
Stewart and Gordon will still find themselves up against a list of road course specialists this weekend, all hoping to turn back the clock and bring home a victory at Watkins Glen.
Back in the 1960s, the specialists annually took advantage of the Cup Series regulars on their annual visit to the old Riverside International Raceway, where Dan Gurney won five races – including four in a row – and both Parnelli Jones and AJ Foyt also came up trumps.
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