By Blake Smith and Moon Mullins

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be making their second road course start of the season in Watkins Glen, NY this weekend. The Cheez-It 355 is a 220.5 mile race on the twisting turns of Watkins Glen International. The Sprint Cup Series has visited the track since 1957, but consecutively since 1986. Sunday’s race will mark the 31st Sprint Cup Series race at the road course.


I was surprised on Tuesday morning to awaken to a press release advising that Tony Stewart was involved in a Sprint Car crash on Monday and would be undergoing surgery on Tuesday morning. Stewart’s spokesman advised that Stewart broke his right fibula and tibula  at Southern Iowa Speedway and was transported to a local hospital. Stewart will be out of the car for an undetermined amount of time. Max Papis will be behind the wheel of the #14 this weekend. It is yet to be determined who will be behind the wheel for the rest of Stewart’s healing process. Our thoughts and prayers are with “Smoke” as he recovers from the injuries. You know what they say…SMOKE WILL RISE!

A total of 13 teams attended a Goodyear tire test on Tuesday at Atlanta Motorspeedway. Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Casey Mears, Matt Kenseth, Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr, Aric Almirola, AJ Allmendinger and David Reutimann were among the drivers testing at the 1.5 mile speedway. Almirola turned the quickest time of all participants with a speed of 189.150 MPH.



Forty-three drivers are entered for Sunday’s race, guaranteeing all entered drivers a starting spot on Sunday. As usual at road course events, there are some unfamiliar drivers behind the wheel. Max Papis will be behind the wheel for the injured Tony Stewart in the #14 Chevrolet.  Owen Kelly will be behind the wheel of the #51 James Finch machine. Brian Keselowski will be in his own #52 machine. Boris Said will be taking his usual road course seat behind the #32 Ford for Frank Stoddard. Ron Fellows will be in the #33 entry. The usual Phil Parsons racing driver, Michael McDowell will be racing the #35 this weekend for Front Row Motorsports since the Phil Parsons team has elected to skip the event. Hollywood, California’s Tony Drissi will be in the #87 for Joe Nemechek and AJ Allmendinger will continue his limited schedule in the #47 Toyota.

The Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series are both at Watkins Glen this weekend. They will both be on track on Friday for their 2 practice sessions before Saturday’s qualifying. The goal for teams during practice won’t necessarily be a fast lap but rather getting their driver comfortable in the car. A comfortable driver can turn fast consistent laps. The drivers competing in both the Nationwide and Cup Series’ races will be at an advantage as they are both running the same tire. This will also give the drivers a chance to get in the rhythm once again of road course racing since they only do it twice a year.


#1 Jamie McMurray: Jamie’s team is keeping his Watkins Glen chassis selection on the downlow but they will be running the McDonald’s Monopoly scheme.

#2 Brad Keselowski: The #2 goes back blue this weekend as Keselowski returns to his usual Miller Lite colors. Brad will be racing Chassis PRS-834 which has never been raced. This car served as the backup chassis at Sonoma back in June.

#5 Kasey Kahne: Kasey Kahne and his team have elected to bring the same chassis that they finished 6th with at Sonoma. The car will be in its usual Farmers’ blue colors.

#9 Marcos Ambrose: The road course ace will be bringing Chassis 761 this weekend. This is the same chassis that he finished 7th with at Sonoma in June. It will be the Stanley tools black and yellow this weekend for the #9.

#14 Max Papis: The #14 team isn’t bringing a new chassis this weekend, but it’s new to relief driver, Max Papis. The Rush Truck Center team will be bringing Chassis #14-731 to the Glen.

#16 Greg Biffle: You dig it? The #16 team will be representing the 811 “Call before you Dig” on his Ford Fusion this weekend. It is the same Chassis that “The Biff” finished 8th with at Sonoma and 6th with last year at the Glen.

#17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr:  There wasn’t enough Zest in Pennsylvania to clean off the white paint from the Pocono wall last weekend. He hopes to reverse his fortunes this weekend in the same chassis he raced at Sonoma. It will be the Best Buy colors for Ricky at the Glen.

#20 Matt Kenseth: The #20 team didn’t reveal what chassis they were bringing to the right and left turns of the glen but we do know it will be the red Husky Tools Toyota.

#27 Paul Menard: The Menards team will be bringing old faithful to the track this weekend. Paul will be racing the same car he raced at Watkins Glen in both 2011 and 2012.

#29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick will be making his last road course start at Richard Childress Racing this weekend. He will be behind the wheel of the same chassis he finished 10th with at Sonoma.

#31 Jeff Burton: The “Mayor” of the NASCAR garage is bringing a road course chassis built in 2011 to the Glen this weekend. He was running in the top 10 with this car at Sonoma when a late race accident delegated him to a 31st place finish.

#39 Ryan Newman: The Brickyard 400 winning team is bringing the same road course chassis they have used since 2009. Newman qualified 7th with the car at Sonoma and finished 17th after a late-race spin.

#48 Jimmie Johnson: Chad Knaus will be bringing Chassis No. 801 to Sonoma this weekend.

#88 Dale Earnhardt Jr: The Steve LeTarte led crew will be utilizing Chassis No. 88-747 which finished 12th at Sonoma in June.

#99 Carl Edwards: The Kelloggs/Cheez-It team will be bringing Chassis No. RK-853 which last ran at Sonoma.


Getty Images\Todd Warshaw

A driver who has a great history of road course racing is the driver of the #15 Peak Toyota, Clint Bowyer. This weekend he will have the “brothers of the beard” as Duck Dynasty is on board of the #15 Toyota. My pick for this weekend is Clint Bowyer. THAT’S A FACT….JACK!!!


Danica Patrick Twitter (Danica, Kenny Chesney, Ricky Stenhouse)

The GoDaddy team will be racing Chassis #10-759 this weekend at the Glen. Danica finished 29th with this car at Sonoma back in June. Based on those "stellar" results…Moon is picking Danica…AGAIN! And, Look she's getting Chesney, not cheesy.

Coverage of the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen begins at 11AM on Sunday, following NASCAR USA on WBKR and!