The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs are quickly approaching, and Watkins Glen International is set to host the 2023 regular season’s penultimate race.
Watkins Glen International has generally been a track at which the favorites have thrived in NASCAR Cup Series races. You have to go back to 2014 to find the last time a driver not named Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, or Kyle Larson won at the track.
In fact, you have to go back to 2017 to find the last time a driver not named Elliott or Larson won at the eight-turn, 2.454-mile (3.949-kilometer) road course in Watkins Glen, New York. Elliott won two races in a row, and Larson has responded by doing the same, beating Elliott both times — once on pure pace, once with late contact — to do so.
But we have all witnessed the unpredictability element of road course races in the Next Gen era. If that continues at Watkins Glen, who are some of the best longshots to keep an eye on?
Let’s try to make it three weeks in a row.
NASCAR at Watkins Glen longshot picks – Ross Chastain
It is surprising to see Trackhouse Racing Team’s Ross Chastain listed at +5000 to win at Watkins Glen. He won his first road course start with the Justin Marks and Pitbull-owned team at Circuit of the Americas in March 2022, and we have seen this team continue to thrive at tracks with both left and right turns.
Shane van Gisbergen won his Cup Series debut at the Chicago Street Course in early July, and Daniel Suarez, last year’s winner at Sonoma Raceway, finished in third place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last week and probably would have had a chance to win if not for a slow pit stop.
NASCAR at Watkins Glen longshot picks – Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski may have still never won a Cup Series road course race, but there are three reasons this is being overblown by his ridiculously long +6500 odds.
First of all, the same could have been said about Front Row Motorsports’ Michael McDowell last week, and he won at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Secondly, RFK Racing’s resurgence is real, and teammate Chris Buescher has demonstrated that it’s not just the ovals where they thrive. And finally, Keselowski is a former Watkins Glen winner in the Xfinity Series.
NASCAR at Watkins Glen longshot picks – Alex Bowman
Alex Bowman isn’t generally known as a road course driver, but he scored his first top 10 finish since early April in the form of a fifth place effort at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course this past weekend, and he knows he needs to win to make it to the playoffs for the sixth time in six seasons at Hendrick Motorsports.
Despite the fact that all seven of his career wins have come on oval tracks, Bowman has had success in road course races before, most notably with finishes of second and third place at Circuit of the Americas. Can he emerge as the unlikely hero to extend Rick Hendrick’s winning streak to five at Watkins Glen?
The Go Bowling at The Glen is scheduled to be broadcast live on USA Network from Watkins Glen International starting at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 20. Be sure to take advantage of FuboTV’s free trial offer now and don’t miss it!