What to Watch For: Watkins Glen
By Gray Caldwell
CONCORD, N.C.—This Sunday, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will head to Watkins Glen (New York) International with Hendrick Motorsports having taken home victories in two consecutive races.
Before the race, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN, here are some key notes and statistics to keep an eye on:
THIS WEEK'S PAINT SCHEMES: Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, Jeff Gordon will climb into the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS, Jimmie Johnson will drive the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet SS and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be behind the wheel of the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS.
BACKWARD PIT STOPS: Cup drivers will enter pit road from the opposite direction on Sunday and that will give the Nos. 5, 24, 48 and 88 pit crews a reverse view of the stop.
HendrickMotorsports.com visited the pit pad to take in the sights and sounds of practice, talking with pit crew coach Greg Morin about how the teams plan and prepare to handle the unique scenario.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT WATKINS GLEN: In 28 races (96 starts) at Watkins Glen, Hendrick Motorsports has six wins, 18 top-five finishes and 34 top-10s. Gordon ranks second on the all-time win list at WGI with four victories. He earned Hendrick Motorsports’ most recent victory at the road course when he won the 2001 event.
KAHNE AT WATKINS GLEN: In 10 Sprint Cup starts at Watkins Glen International, Kahne has three top-15 finishes. He has completed 99.1 percent of laps at the 2.45-mile road course (896 of 904 laps total). The driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS has two top-10 starts at the Glen, including an outside pole position in 2006. Kahne earned his best result at Watkins Glen in 2012 when he crossed the finish line 13th.
GORDON AT WATKINS GLEN: In 21 starts at Watkins Glen, Gordon has four wins, two pole positions, six top-five finishes and nine top-10s. With 233 laps led, Gordon is the all-time leader in that category at the serpentine track.
90 FOR 24: The No. 24 has 90 career wins in NASCAR’s premier series – which ranks fifth all-time for most wins by car number – with Gordon behind the wheel for each of those victories. Fourth on that list is the No. 21 with 18 drivers combining for 91 victories.
JOHNSON AT WATKINS GLEN: In 12 starts at Watkins Glen, Johnson has recorded four top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He has an average start of 7.2 and average finish of 12.8. Johnson has led 11 laps and has one pole position at the road course.
EARNHARDT AT WATKINS GLEN: In 14 Sprint Cup starts at Watkins Glen International, Earnhardt has recorded two top-five finishes and three top-10s. He has completed 92.2 percent of all the laps he's attempted (1,165 laps of 1,264 total). The 39-year-old driver has led 46 laps there.