The NASCAR XFINITY Series heads to Watkins Glen this weekend for the first road course of the 2017 season. The first of three visits to road courses for the series with Mid-Ohio and Road America with Bristol being the sole oval track race in between. With just seven races remaining in the regular season, XFINITY Series regulars look to gain everything possible with some looking to make one last run for a spot in the playoffs.
It’s been a common thing at The Glen to see a Team Penske car in victory lane since the series returned to the track after a three year hiatus. A Team Penske driver has delivered a victory for the “Captain” six out of the last twelve races and this weekend the two stars of the organization take to the track with Joey Logano driving the No. 12 and Brad Keselowski driving the No. 22, both of which secured a combined three wins for Roger Penske, Logano has won the last two races at The Glen (Sweeping both races in 2015).
William Byron, Justin Allgaier, and Ryan Reed are the only drivers who know they’ve got a ticket to the playoffs by virtue of their victories this season. As noted above, with only seven races remaining if your gonna snag a ticket to the playoffs you need to do it quick. Statistically, The Glen isn’t a place we see XFINITY Regulars rise to the occasion either. Only one XFINITY regular has visited victory lane since the series returned to The Glen in 2005, that being Marcos Ambrose when he earned his first career victory in the series back in 2008 driving for JTG Daugherty Racing.
Blake Koch returns to the site of his worst finish last season. He’s coming off of a career best tying eighth place finish last weekend at Iowa and currently has a little cushion in the playoffs sitting 10th in points with a 333 point deficit off points leader Elliott Sadler. The remainder of the road courses last season, Koch put in strong performances with a 12th place finish at a rainy Mid-Ohio and 18th place finish at Road America. Another strong run today could propel Koch a little higher in the standings and add a little more fluff to that cushion.
J.J. Yeley put on one heck of a run last weekend that propelled him to 13th in XFINITY Series points, a great run for the Tri-Star Motorsports, who just lost their owner Mark Smith two weeks ago before the Iowa race. Crew Chief Wally Rogers also completed his 400th race as a crew chief amongst all three series last weekend. Yeley has had strong finishes at The Glen in his career with a best finish of 10th coming in 2005, his debut at the Road Course. Yeley is one of those drivers making a last run for the playoffs and with a momentum builder of a sixth place finish last weekend, look for good things to come in the next few weeks.