I am sorry. Last week, coming out of Pocono, I said you could bet that Watkins Glen would provide you with a much more entertaining race. I lied. I apologize. As for the NBC announcing crew, they did not make the experience any better. Just saying.
The early part of the race could be summed up in this fashion. Kyle Busch won the opening stage but came in during the break to tighten a loose wheel and dropped out of the first 30 to begin the second. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had an engine that gave up the ghost, and he was done. Jamie McMurray was doing fine until a 45 second pit stop due to ornery wheels that would not come off…or go on.
At least the end of the second stage gave us some story lines of note. While Rowdy got back into the Top Ten, Daniel Suarez won that portion of the race. Erik Jones and A.J. Allmendinger were in the Top Ten as well. If any of the latter three won this race, it would have a meaningful impact on those hoping to get to the Chase via points alone. So, with 50 laps remaining there might be some excitement to be had after all. At least, that was what I was hoping for.
I guess Watkins Glen is where hope goes to die. It appeared maybe Brad Keselowski might win, despite going for a skid with his buddy, the aforementioned Kyle, and being short on fuel. Too bad when he pitted he decided to run through more than three pit stalls to do it. That gave him a penalty and all of his hopes were dashed.
Matt Kenseth had a run over the last couple of laps. Hey, better late than never. Unfortunately for him, Martin Truex, Jr. was using fuel mileage to make it, after finishing second in both of the opening stages, to claim his fourth victory of the season. A great day for Truex, a good day for the likes of Kenseth and Suarez, who finished third. Even the younger Busch had a 42 point day after wrapping things up in seventh. Duds on the day included the 29th place finisher Jimmie Johnson, with Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, and Joey Logano also missing the Top Twenty.
Logano has to win to be in, so no big news there. Clint Bowyer is now 28 points out of a Chase place despite coming home in fifth. Ahead of him are the 16th place Kenseth (637 points), McMurray in 15th (638), and the 14th place sitting Chase Elliott (648). A bad day for any one amongst that trio, and a good one for Bowyer, would make things interesting. So would a victory over the next four events by someone previously winless, which would put the final two spots in play.
Heading to Michigan next weekend, the 16 winless drivers in the Top 30 in points are the ones to watch for. Them and only them. Kenseth, Logano, and Junior have all won at Michigan before. They might want to do it again. Will it be an exciting race to watch? I plead the Fifth.