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A UNIQUE VIEW: What to Watch at The Glen

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By Unique Hiram – Left and right turns will be made during this weekend’s double-header at Watkins Glen International. The NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series will make their presence known in the southern Seneca Lake, NY area.

We are approximately five weeks away from the start of the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Who will be contending in this year’s prestigious competition? Who will be on the outside looking in, wondering what might have been? I think that is still yet to be seen because as we all know – anything can happen to change the game.

Here are my pondering thoughts for this weekend’s showdown at “The Glen”:

Will Max Papis bring home the victory for Stewart-Haas Racing and capture his first win?

NASCAR driver Max Papis will be subbing for three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart. Due to a leg injury sustained in a 360-winged sprint car accident in Iowa, “Smoke” has been sidelined this weekend.

Competing on a very limited schedule, for the past eight years, Papis’ best finishes are eighth (Sprint Cup) and second (Nationwide). He has mainly participated in road course races, specifically in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, with statistics that include three top 5s, three top 10s and two laps led in 13 races.

“Mad Max” is definitely a very determined and highly competitive road racer. He is not afraid to drive aggressively towards the front of the field. Rest assured, the race leader position and checkered flag are definitely in his sights.

Can Kurt Busch and the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team crack the top 10 this weekend?

2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch is currently sitting 13th in the point standings. Fast, strong cars along with a talented pit crew and determined driver have allowed this single car team to stay in the hunt. After 21 races, in the 2013 season, Busch has five top 5s, nine top 10s, led 271 laps and one pole.

With only 11 points separating him and 10th place Greg Biffle, there is a 98% chance that Kurt Busch gains a few positions upon completing a predominately clean race.  His statistics at “The Glen” include one top 5, four top 10s and 62 laps led. This driver and race team are a true representation of the “the little engine that could” because they are positioning themselves for success.

Is this the weekend for four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon to grab the checkered flag?

Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon was posed for the win last week until a final restart changed the outcome of the race ending. His teammate Kasey Kahne crossed the finish line 1.392 seconds ahead of him at Pocono Raceway.

Is this still fresh in his mind? Even though I am sure he is focused on this weekend’s race, I believe that there is some thought about the win that eluded him.

Gordon is headed to a track where he holds some impressive statistics. He has four wins, six top 5s, nine top 10s and led 233 laps. Is he a contender for the win? Yes, I believe that this four-time champion is determined and focused on crossing the finish line first. No pun intended – he wants to be the bride not the bridesmaid this weekend.

 

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POPULAR SPEED is a Social Media driven website featuring exclusive content, photographs, news and pointed editorials. It’s makeup consists of veteran motorsports journalists as well as the unique voice of developing young talent. POPULAR SPEED was launched in 2013 under the direction of former Sprint Cup Series spotter, Mike Calinoff.

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