Watkins Glen, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The roaring NASCAR engines are back at Watkins Glen International. Rain made sure they weren't out there long, but six drivers stopped by the Glen Monday morning to test out the track.
The Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen is one of just two road races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, which is why drivers say it helps to get used to the course.
Of those drivers testing, only Aric Almirola and Austin Dillon are currently in the chase, being ranked in the Top 16. For guys like two-time winner Marcos Ambrose and Martin Truex Jr, this is a key time to try and make a run at a spot in the NASCAR playoffs.
"If you're already locked in, this race is a throw away. If you're Kevin Harvick or Carl Edwards, or whatever who is already locked in, he can not worry too much about this weekend," said Ambrose. "But for guys like me and AJ [Allmendinger] it's a really important race. It's probably going to be our best chance to make it in."
"That's why we're here testing, honestly," said Truex on Monday. "We feel like this is a place that I feel like I can get it done, and a place where we feel like we can win as a team. That's why we're here testing, trying to get that little bit of advantage."
It's a track both Ambrose and Truex feel comfortable on. Ambrose has won two of the last three Sprint Cup races at the Glen, while Truex finished third last year. They certainly enjoy being back at the race track.
"It's got a mix of fast speed and slow speed," said Ambrose, who won at Watkins Glen in 2011 and 2012. "For me, I think it's a really great race track, one of the really iconic race tracks. I remember watching old footage of F1 races here, and the track really hasn't changed much since then."
"This is one of those tracks that's special because I raced my way up through the ranks coming to this track. It's always a fun place to come," said Truex, Jr. "I got real close last year, finished third or whatever, but we were right in the hunt all day long. Hopefully, we'll be able to get over the hump this year."
The Cheez-It 355 at the Glen is set for August 10.