The penultimate race in the NASCAR regular season and the penultimate road course on the schedule are the same race — Go Bowling at The Glen. The pressure is still on a few different drivers to make the playoff push and this is likely the “easier” track to make that push compared to next weekend.

Give the Weekly NASCAR DFS Podcast a listen and subscribe for an early breakdown of the field:

Watkins Glen Track Layout

The 11-turn, 2.45-mile road course in upstate New York has always been a fan and driver favorite alike. This is a less-technical, faster-speed road layout compared to most of the other layouts on the schedule. It’s more similar to Road America than COTA or Sonoma. At practice on Saturday, the Next Gen cars were flying around the track and several drivers talked about how on the edge the cars were on the curbing, which will be something to watch throughout the race.

Go Bowling at The Glen DFS Strategy

The strategy for road racing has typically been a rather simple one. Don’t really worry about laps led leaders and rather about the finishing position of the drivers in your builds. With the laps in a road race being so few, just 90 in this weekend’s race, there’s not a ton of difference laps led dominators and guys that just finish well. With .7 points in dominator points available a lap (.45 per fast lap and .25 for a lap led) there are a max of 63 points total available, but in reality there’s probably a max of between 50-55 points. That means the bulk of the scoring will come from PD and finish position this week. At Watkins Glen in the last five races, we’ve seen just over three drivers a race post double-digit position differential, eight drivers or so move up at least six spots, and just over a third of the top-10 finishers start outside the top-12. That means moving up can happen here, unlike we saw at COTA and especially Sonoma.

Practice To Qualifying

The following table shows the qualifying spots of each driver compared to their single lap and five-lap average in practice. It’s meant to show who may have qualified too high or too low based on practice.

DriverDK$FD $Prac to QualQualComb. Prac5-Lap
Chase Elliott$10,700$14,000-1123
Kyle Larson$10,500$13,0001211
Tyler Reddick$10,300$13,500-3585
Ross Chastain$10,000$12,5007181113
Austin Cindric$9,800$11,000-581320
AJ Allmendinger$9,600$10,500363 
Daniel Suarez$9,400$12,0000996
Ryan Blaney$9,200$11,5009261722
Martin Truex Jr$9,100$9,000-2252719
Kyle Busch$8,900$8,800-9101914
Chase Briscoe$8,800$10,000714737
Christopher Bell$8,700$9,50022381615
Denny Hamlin$8,600$8,500822149
Kevin Harvick$8,400$8,200-7243127
Joey Logano$8,200$7,800520157
Alex Bowman$8,000$7,000111108
Chris Buescher$7,800$8,0001764
William Byron$7,700$7,5000442
Kimi Raikkonen$7,600$6,0007272029
Brad Keselowski$7,300$6,500-9152423
Michael McDowell$7,100$7,200-1531811
Ty Gibbs$6,900$6,8001116524
Bubba Wallace$6,800$5,8002232110
Erik Jones$6,700$5,2006312518
Austin Dillon$6,500$5,500-14122617
Cole Custer$6,300$6,2001292826
Aric Almirola$6,200$5,0006352925
Ricky Stenhouse Jr$6,100$3,500-12213321
Justin Haley$6,000$4,20011312 
Harrison Burton$5,800$4,8000303028
Todd Gilliland$5,700$4,500-3192212
Joey Hand$5,500$4,000-6172316
Corey Lajoie$5,400$3,000-4323630
Mike Rockenfeller$5,200$2,000-2333534
Ty Dillon$5,100$4,000-4283231
Daniil Kvyat$4,900$2,000-2363836
Cody Ware$4,800$3,00053934 
Loris Hezemans$4,700$2,000-33437 
Kyle Tilley$4,500$2,500-23739 

Average Points By Starting Spot

The following charts show the average points posted by starting spot in the last five Watkins Glen races regardless of the drivers in those starting spots. It’s meant to show the general strategy for building lineups rather than a hard-and-fast rule for who should be played.

 

One more late add to the playbook:

Kimi Raikkonen
It’s impossible to ignore the hype for Raikkonen, aka the Ice Man, this weekend. He started at well over 100-1 to win in most sportsbooks and dropped all the way to 50-1 by Thursday. Then he got faster each lap he put down on the track at practice and qualifying. He’ll start P27 and ran as fast as P20 in practice. If he can keep improving the times in the brand new car during the race there’s PD value here. Don’t forget that Trackhouse has been lightning quick on road layouts this year already and Raikkonen is a 21-time winner in F1 who’s well equipped to figure out this road layout. Don’t overplay him though as fading is still an option in case something goes wrong and you’re under on the field.