10 August 2009
Rain delays Watkins Glen.
NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series reprised a familiar theme - Rainy Days and Mondays - with the postponement of Sunday's scheduled Heluva Good! at the Glen.
A band of thundershowers soaked the 2.45-mile road course at Watkins Glen International, forcing postponement of a Cup event until Monday for the second straight week. The race is scheduled to begin at noon ET. Denny Hamlin won last Monday's rain-delayed Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway.
Jimmie Johnson will start on the pole Monday, having edged Kurt Busch for the top spot by 0.008secs in Friday's qualifying, but all eyes will be on fourth-place starter Marcos Ambrose, as the Australian tries to complete a Watkins Glen double, having won the Nationwide Series Zippo 200 on Saturday.
Points leader Tony Stewart, who starts 13th, holds a 197-point lead over second-place Johnson in the Cup standings, while Jeff Gordon, 199 points back in third place overall, will have to make up significant ground from his 31st starting position. Gordon, who has four wins at the road course, hasn't enjoyed the same success since NASCAR introduced its new racecar to the Cup series in 2007.
“With that old car, I felt like I could come here every single year and be competitive,” he said during a rain-delay interview on ESPN, “There are some places - and Mark Martin has shown it this year [with four victories] - that that experience really pays off.
“And then there's other places [such as Watkins Glen], where you've got to take yourself out of what you know and reinvent the way you go about it. That's what we've done this year. The cars have improved, and I feel like some things I've done have improved, and that's why we're running better.”
Kyle Busch, 13th in the standings and outside the twelve Chase-eligible positions despite three victories this season, will start eighth Monday. The defending race winner at the Glen, Busch finished second to Ambrose in Saturday's Nationwide race.
by Reid Spencer / Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
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