• Sat. Apr 1st, 2023

2022 NASCAR Cup Series preview: Watkins Glen

ByBrenden Martin

Aug 21, 2022
Cup cars race at Watkins Glen
Photo courtesy of Sean Gardner | Getty Images

The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season has reached its penultimate regular season race at Watkins Glen International for the Go Bowling at The Glen.

Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 driver Chase Elliott will start on pole for the third time this season as he did at Martinsville Speedway and Road America. Elliott finished in the top 10 in all three of those races, including a win at Atlanta.

Known for his road course prowess, Elliott has been outstanding in his career as he has finished no worse than 13th. He won his first career Cup Series race at Watkins Glen in 2018 and followed that up with another win in 2019.

Last year, Elliott finished second and was outmatched by Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 driver Kyle Larson, who won his sixth of what became a 10-win championship season. Larson, who was fastest in practice with a lap time of 71.293 seconds, will start next to his teammate on the front row.

Larson will start on the front row for the second straight week after earning the pole at Richmond Raceway. He will also be fresh off his win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Go Rewards 200 at The Glen on Saturday.

This year’s installment of the Go Bowling at The Glen will have a lot of international flair as a record seven countries will be represented.

The highest-profile international entry at Watkins Glen is Trackhouse Racing No. 91 driver Kimi Räikkönen. The 2007 Formula 1 World Champion makes his Cup Series debut as a third entry for Trackhouse under its new “Project 91”, an initiative to bring international drivers into NASCAR.

While Räikkönen will race a Cup Series car for the first time, the Finn has raced in NASCAR before. He ran in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2011 where he finished 15th.

He also ran in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Charlotte eight days later, finishing 27th and four laps down.

Räikkönen will start 27th in his Cup Series debut.

Trackhouse Racing No. 99 driver Daniel Suárez is the only Cup Series regular from outside the United States, born in Monterrey, Mexico. He will start ninth.

Team Hezeberg No. 26 driver Daniil Kvyat of Ufa, Russia will make his second start this season. The former F1 racer made his NASCAR debut at the Indy Road Course where he finished 36th due to a suspension issue. He will start 36th as well at Watkins Glen.

Kvyat will have a teammate, Team Hezeberg No. 27 driver Loris Hezemans from Amsterdam, Netherlands, who will start 34th. Hezemans is a two-time NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion.

Other international entries include Spire Motorsport No. 77 driver Mike Rockenfeller of Neuwied, Germany, the winner of the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans in LMP1 and the 2010 Rolex 24. He also won the 2013 DTM Championship. He will start 33rd in his Cup Series debut.

Live Fast Motorsports No. 78 Kyle Tilley rounds out the international entries from Bath, United Kingdom. He won the Asian Le Mans Series Championship and the Rolex 24 in LMP2 in 2021. He will start 37th.

Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Kevin Harvick enters The Glen riding a two-race winning streak with victories at Michigan International Speedway and Richmond. Harvick has finished in the top 10 in the last two Watkins Glen races and won in 2006. He will have a lot of work to do to three-peat, starting in 24th.

The two drivers battling for the final playoff spot in points, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Martin Truex Jr. and Team Penske No. 12 Ryan Blaney, will both start on Row 13 in 25th and 26th respectively.

Blaney leads Truex Jr. by 26 points for the final playoff spot.

A few drivers had issues during practice and qualifying on Saturday. Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 driver Christopher Bell blew an engine in practice and Rick Ware Racing No. 51 Cody Ware is suspected to have ballast fall off the car. If true, Ware would lose his crew chief, car chief and engineer.

Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Kyle Busch made it to the final round of qualifying, but the team decided to change the engine which will send them to the rear.

23XI Racing No. 45 driver Ty Gibbs, who will be subbing in for Kurt Busch at Watkins Glen and Daytona, crashed into the tire barrier in practice at the same time as Bell’s engine expired. The team was able to make repairs to Gibbs’ Toyota Camry and allow him to post a qualifying time. He will start 16th.

The Go Bowling at The Glen will be 90 laps long with stage breaks on Laps 20 and 40 and will begin on Sunday, August 21 at 3:00 p.m. ET. The race can be watched on USA Network and the NBC Sports App. It can also be listened to on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Starting Lineup:

Watkins Glen Cup Starting Lineup

Practice Times:

Watkins Glen Cup Practice Times

Pit Stall Selection:

Watkins Glen Cup Pit Stall Selection