At first glance, a betting man might believe Jeff Gordon would be the popular pick to win this Sunday at Watkins Glen.
The current points leader holds the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road course record with nine victories, including four at Watkins Glen. Gordon has already clinched a spot in the Chase and has everything to gain and nothing to lose by gunning for the checkered flag.
Or, has Gordon lost some of his road course mojo? He has not won on a road course since 2006 at Sonoma and his last Watkins Glen victory came in 2001.
Maybe a little of both. The No. 24 has taken second in his last two starts at the Sonoma, but Watkins Glen hasn’t been very friendly to him. Gordon has posted just two top-10 finishes at Watkins Glen since his last win there.
Past years’ performance may not be the best indicator for Gordon’s chances on Sunday. He arguably has more momentum than any driver on the circuit following his victory at Indy and he led a race-high 63 laps in his sixth-place finish at Pocono last Sunday. Gordon also boasts eight top-10 finishes in his last 11 races.
One more advantage Gordon will have on his side: Experience. Sunday will mark Gordon’s 22nd start at Watkins Glen, tying him with Terry Labonte, Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip for the most starts at the track.