2023 Go Bowling at the Glen: Preview, 5 Best Bets, Longshot Pick

Field Level Media
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Aug 12, 2023; Speedway, Indiana, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) during practice for the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
Aug 12, 2023; Speedway, Indiana, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) during practice for the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
Image: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott are two of the biggest names in the NASCAR Cup Series, but with only a pair of regular-season races remaining, neither has locked up a playoff spot.

Harvick appears to be in a good position entering Sunday's Go Bowling at The Glen at 3 p.m. ET. He has the most points among drivers without a win yet this season, and holds a 145-point cushion on 16th place.


Elliott? Not so much. The 2020 Cup Series champion remains 80 points behind Bubba Wallace for the 16th and final playoff spot.

Eighty points isn't insurmountable, but as we saw with Michael McDowell's victory last week, the playoff window can shrink in the blink of an eye with a first-time 2023 winner claiming an automatic spot.


Brad Keselowski is just two points behind Harvick. Wallace has a tentative hold on the 16th spot, 28 points ahead of Daniel Suarez, and then comes Elliott. However, Wallace has never finished better than 23rd at Watkins Glen, where he holds an average finish of 27.8 in four previous starts.

McDowell became the 13th driver to secure a playoff spot, joining Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher, Kyle Busch, Tyler Reddick, Joey Logano and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

At the top of the standings, Truex holds a 60-point lead over teammate Hamlin. With one point this weekend, Truex would lock up the regular-season title — along with the 15-point bonus entering the playoffs.


The Place: Watkins Glen International

The Date: Aug. 20, 3 p.m. ET

The Distance: 2.54-mile course

Defending Champion: Kyle Larson

Cup Series Leader: Martin Truex Jr.

TV: USA Network

Radio: SiriusXM NASCAR Radio


Chase Elliott (+300 at BetMGM)

Elliott has his back against the proverbial wall at the right place. He owns the best active average finish at Watkins Glen of 5.667, and Elliott is one of only three active drivers with multiple wins at the track. He won in 2018 and '19, and he has four top-fives in six career starts. Elliott opened at +400, but his odds have shortened while leading the field with 13.6 percent of the total bets and 34.4 percent of the money wagered on Sunday's winner, making him the book's biggest liability this week.


Kyle Larson (+550)

Larson is one of the other two active drivers with multiple wins in upstate New York. With a win on Sunday, he would join NASCAR Hall of Famers Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon as the only drivers with three consecutive wins at Watkins Glen. Larson is the second-biggest liability, having drawn 10.4 percent of the bets and 18.3 percent of the money.


Martin Truex Jr. (+750)

Truex is tied with Kyle Busch with three victories this season, and he's trying to join Busch (2018-19) as the only drivers to win multiple regular-season titles. Truex is one of eight drivers in the field with previous wins at Watkins Glen, which he accomplished in 2017 en route to his first regular-season title.


Daniel Suarez (+1100)

Suarez can bring some confidence into this weekend, having won in Sonoma last year and owning three career top-five finishes in five starts at the Glen. He's third at BetMGM with 5.8 percent of the bets backing Suarez to win, while his odds have shifted since opening at +900.


"We just need to keep doing what we are doing," Suarez said. "That's qualify well and earn stage points and get a good finish. There is still a lot of racing left and we know we can do this. If we have as good a car at Watkins Glen as we had at Indianapolis, we know we can win there. That's true about Daytona as well."

Kyle Busch (+1400)

Busch is the third active driver with multiple wins at the Glen. However, he's going to have to rebound from a recent rut, as outside of a third-place finish at Richmond, Busch hasn't posted a top-20 in his past five races. He did finish second at Sonoma earlier this year and Busch's experience tends to pay dividends on road courses.



Ty Gibbs (+2200)

Gibbs can become just the sixth rookie to earn a playoff spot with a win this weekend or next week at Daytona. The 2022 Xfinity Series champion won four road course races on that circuit, including in 2021 at Watkins Glen. He will also compete in Saturday's Xfinity Series race.


—Field Level Media