Hendrick Motorsports Looks to Continue Road Course Dominance at The Glen
NASCAR returns to the Southern Tier as it is race weekend at Watkins Glen International. With a year off from the Go Bowling at the Glen in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions in New York State, drivers are getting a feel for the road course again. Despite the year off, the drivers from Hendrick Motorsports are feeling confident heading into Sunday, and for good reason.
“I wish I knew; I really don’t feel like I do anything spectacularly special or very different at those places,” says Elliot. “But again we’ve had a good package as a company, the #9 team now that used to be the #24 team, Jeff (Gordon) had a lot of success on road courses, Alan (Gustafson, Elliot’s Crew Chief) has a great understanding and history with road racing too.”
While reigning Cup Series Champion Chase Elliot, can’t quite pinpoint why he’s been so dominant on road courses, his record speaks for itself. Elliot won the Go Bowling at the Glen in 2018 and 2019, and both of his wins in the 2021 season have come on road courses. Throw in teammate Kyle Larson’s win at Sonoma and Hendrick Motorsports has won the last 3 Cup Series races on road courses.
“I feel like we know we got the equipment at road course races,” says Byron. “We know we got the ability to go out and win the road courses so yes absolutely I think it’s definitely going to help us knowing that we got a good notebook.”
Byron, the driver of the #24 Hendricks Motorsports Chevrolet, is currently having a career year sitting third in the regular season Cup Series Standings. This will be his third Cup Series race at the Glen with his best finish being 8th back in 2018. With his team’s success on road courses, he has an added boost of confidence heading into Sunday. (Full interview with William Byron can be seen below)
“I love Watkins Glen, it’s one of the coolest road courses we go to,” says Byron. “Honestly just the transitions and just the way the track races and how much momentum you have to carry things like that, I just really enjoy. It’s a lot of fun as a driver and I feel like it’s a challenge to set up for as a team.”
Even with his success at the track, Elliot acknowledges that the Glen can be a tricky track, especially if you aren’t starting towards the front.
“I think the most challenging part about Watkins Glen is passing,” says Elliot. “It’s a racetrack that has a lot of grip and you kind of get into a rhythm and there’s not a lot of passing zones.”
On Sunday Elliot will be lining up in the 11th position while Byron will be in 15th. They have their workout cut out for them, but don’t be surprised if Hendrick Motorsports comes out on top at their 4th straight road course.
The Go Bowling at the Glen is set to begin Sunday at 3pm.