Road course racing is not for everyone.
And when the Sprint Cup Series only visits two road courses a year, that leaves little opportunity for drivers to showcase their abilities.
With Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart having combined for 17 wins at Watkins Glen International and Sonoma Raceway since 1997, only one other active driver has managed to win more than once on a road course.
Kyle Busch first claimed road course glory by sweeping the races in 2008. He’s since won once more at each track, at WGI in 2013 and then at Sonoma in 2015, which was his first win after returning from serious leg injuries.
In his 23 road course starts, Busch has seven top fives and 13 top 10s.
With Stewart and Gordon likely making their final road course starts, where does the rest of the field in Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen stand?
Watkins Glen represents one of four Sprint Cup tracks that Johnson – who has 77 career victories – hasn’t won at.
While Kenseth finished fourth at the Glen in 2015, it was only his first top five in 33 road course starts. The 2003 Sprint Cup champion has seven road course top 10s, but he’s only led three laps at them in his entire career. Sonoma remains the only track he has not led a lap at.
Keselowski has three top fives at WGI after finishing second three years in a row (2011-13), but he has only one top 10 at Sonoma in seven starts.
While Kasey Kahne has a win at Sonoma (2009), two poles and six top 10s at Sonoma, the Hendrick Motorsports’ driver has never finished better than 12th in his 12 starts at WGI.
In the most recent road race race, the June visit to Sonoma, Stewart claimed his eighth road-course win. But it came at the expense of Hamlin.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver had led 33 laps – which tied his career best at road courses – and after passing Stewart on the last lap lost the lead back Stewart after overshooting the final turn.
It left Hamlin still winless at road courses, but it gave the Daytona 500 champion his first road course top five in his last 13 starts.
His first of three top fives came in 2007.
That year he finished second to Stewart as the three-time champion won his fourth of five races at WGI.