One more Playoff spot was taken today at Indianapolis, putting even more pressure on the drivers around the cut line. Michael McDowell punched his ticket with a win, and many hope to do the same next weekend at another road course. The series heads to Watkins Glen International for the penultimate race of the regular season. This will be the 40th NASCAR Cup race at the fast-flowing circuit, where track position is key.

Qualifying will be crucial, as 11 of the last 12 races here have been won by a driver starting inside the first three rows. Oddly enough, the driver starting on pole has only one victory in that time span, which was Chase Elliott in 2019. He will need a repeat of that next weekend if he wants to avoid a chaotic scenario in the final regular season race at Daytona. The good news for him is that Hendrick Motorsports has dominated this track recently, winning the last four races.

Eight current drivers have won at this track, with Elliott, Kyle Larson, and Kyle Busch leading the way with two victories each. Busch and former teammate Martin Truex Jr have the most top-five finishes (seven) here, and Busch leads everyone in the category of top-ten results. Busch is also tied with Elliott for the most poles among active drivers, and his 247 laps led are also the highest in the garage. After a disappointing end to a promising day at Indy, the veteran will be hungry for a win next Sunday.

AJ Allmendinger finished runner-up in this race last year, and he too had a rough day at Indianapolis. An angry AJ on a road course is never good for the competition, especially when a Playoff ticket is up for grabs. Larson will try to make it three consecutive victories at the track, while trying to avoid the disastrous end to last year when he moved his teammate (Elliott) on the final restart.

Race weekend schedule (Eastern Standard Time)

Saturday August 19

12:35 pm - Practice

1:35 pm - Qualifying

Sunday August 20

3:00 pm - Race