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Who is hot and not in the Cup Series ahead of Watkins Glen

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 07: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Beer Chevrolet, races Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Snickers Crisper Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 7, 2016 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

NASCAR via Getty Images

For a long time the biggest names in NASCAR road course racing were Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.

They’re gone, enjoying retirement.

So who does that leave?

As of June’s race at Sonoma Raceway, only Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch can claim to have won multiple road course races in the Cup Series.

Harvick’s Sonoma win joins his 2006 victory at Watkins Glen International, where the Cup Series returns this weekend for the I Love New York 355.

Busch, who just claimed his first win of the year at Pocono, leads all active drivers with four road course wins. His last came in 2015 when he won at Sonoma for his first win back from leg injuries.

Here’s who is hot and not going into this weekend’s race.

Who is Hot

Clint Bowyer
• Finished sixth at Pocono and won Stage 2 for first stage win of 2017.
• Has finished runner-up three times in 2017.
• Nine top 10s in 2017, had three in all of 2016.
• Top-10 finishes in three of the last five races at Watkins Glen.

Kyle Busch
• Won from the pole at Pocono, first win of 2017 and at Pocono.
• Pocono win ended a career-long 36-race winless streak.
• Led 1,114 laps this season, second most to Martin Truex Jr. Led the most laps six times including in the last two races.

Denny Hamlin
• Finished fourth at Pocono. Top-four finishes in five of the last seven races including a win at New Hampshire.
• Won at Watkins Glen last year. His best finish in the prior six WGI starts was 19th.
• Finished top four in the last three races on road courses.

Kevin Harvick
• Finished second at Pocono. Finished in top 10 in 12 of the last 15 races, including the last four races.
• Won at Sonoma in June, only win so far this season.

Who is Not

AJ Allmendinger
• Four top 10s in 2017, two were in the last five races.
• Only series win came at Watkins Glen in 2014.
• Watkins Glen is his best track with a win, three top fives, five top 10s and an average finish of 9.3.

Austin Dillon
• Finished 21st at Pocono, only one top-15 finish in the last seven races.
• Won on fuel mileage in Coke 600.
• Only two top-10 finishes this season, had nine at this point last year.
• Three starts at Watkins Glen with a best finish of 16th in 2014.

Ryan Blaney
• Finished 30th at Pocono.
• Has not had back-to-back top-10 finishes this season.
• Only one top 10 in the last five races (10th at Kentucky).
• Started and finished 19th in first Watkins Glen Cup start last year.

Jimmie Johnson
• Finished 35th at Pocono after crash. DNF in three of his last four races.
• One top 10 in his last six races.
• Three top-five finishes this season, all wins.
• Watkins Glen is one of three winless tracks (Kentucky and Chicagoland).
• Best Watkins Glen finish in 15 starts is third, twice.

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