How to watch NASCAR at Watkins Glen 2023: TV info, weather, predictions and more

Just two races remain in the regular season before the 2023 NASCAR playoffs begin

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For the second straight week, NASCAR is back at a road course.

The Cup Series heads to the Finger Lakes this weekend for a 90-lap race at Watkins Glen International. The 11-turn circuit has held a Cup race annually since 1986, except for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stakes are high with the NASCAR playoffs just two weeks away. Several stars are still looking to punch their ticket, including former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott.

Here’s everything you need to know for the Go Bowling at The Glen:

What is the NASCAR at Watkins Glen entry list?

Thirty-six drivers will race at Watkins Glen. The 32 full-timers will all compete, plus four wild cards.

Veteran road-racer Andy Lally and former Cup Rookie of the Year Cole Custer will drive for Rick Ware Racing, making their fourth and fifth starts of the season, respectively. Elsewhere, Josh Bilicki will make his eighth start of 2023 for Live Fast Motorsports and Mike Rockenfeller, replacing Noah Gragson, is set for his second straight run for Legacy Motor Club.

Here’s the full entry list for Watkins Glen:

  • No. 1, Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing
  • No. 2, Austin Cindric, Team Penske
  • No. 3, Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing
  • No. 4, Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing
  • No. 5, Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports
  • No. 6, Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing
  • No. 7, Corey LaJoie, Spire Motorsports
  • No. 8, Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing
  • No. 9, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports
  • No. 10, Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing
  • No. 11, Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing
  • No. 12, Ryan Blaney, Team Penske
  • No. 14, Chase Briscoe, Stewart-Haas Racing
  • No. 15, Andy Lally, Rick Ware Racing
  • No. 16, A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing
  • No. 17, Chris Buescher, RFK Racing
  • No. 19, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing
  • No. 20, Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing
  • No. 21, Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing
  • No. 22, Joey Logano, Team Penske
  • No. 23, Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing
  • No. 24, William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports
  • No. 31, Justin Haley, Kaulig Racing
  • No. 34, Michael McDowell, Front Row Motorsports
  • No. 38, Todd Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports
  • No. 41, Ryan Preece, Stewart-Haas Racing
  • No. 42, Mike Rockenfeller, Legacy Motor Club
  • No. 43, Erik Jones, Legacy Motor Club
  • No. 45, Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing
  • No. 47, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing
  • No. 48, Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports
  • No. 51, Cole Custer, Rick Ware Racing
  • No. 54, Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing
  • No. 77, Ty Dillon, Spire Motorsports
  • No. 78, Josh Bilicki, Live Fast Motorsports
  • No. 99, Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing

When is the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen in 2023?

The 37th annual Go Bowling at The Glen is set for Sunday, Aug. 20, at 3 p.m. ET.

Before the race on Sunday, there will be practice and qualifying sessions. The 36-car field will be split into two groups, with each group practicing for 20 minutes on Saturday at 12:35 p.m. ET.

Two-round qualifying will be held immediately after practice. Here’s how it works:

  • The 36 drivers will be split into two groups (same groups as practice, found here).
  • First round: 15 minutes for each group. Drivers can make unlimited laps.
  • The five fastest drivers from each group advance to the second round. Starting positions 11 through 36 are set based on speeds from the first round.
  • Second round: 10 minutes for the 10 drivers who advanced. Drivers can make unlimited laps. The top 10 starting positions are determined based on the best single-lap speeds from the second round.

NASCAR TV schedule for Watkins Glen this weekend

Saturday, Aug. 19 (USA Network and streaming online)

Sunday, Aug. 20 (USA Network, Peacock and streaming online)

  • NASCAR Countdown to Green: 2:30 p.m. ET, USA Network,
  • Go Bowling at The Glen: 3 p.m. ET, USA Network,
  • NASCAR Post Show: 5:20-6:30 p.m. ET, Peacock

NASCAR playoff standings entering Watkins Glen

There are still three playoff spots up for grabs with two regular-season races to go. That means 13 spots have been filled by race winners this season, including McDowell last week at the Brickyard. Here’s a look at the drivers who have clinched a NASCAR playoff spot in 2023:

1. William Byron, 4 race wins, 7 stage wins

2. Martin Truex Jr., 3 race wins, 5 stage wins, leads overall points standings

3. Kyle Busch, 3 race wins, 2 stage wins

4. Denny Hamlin, 2 race wins, 5 stage wins

5. Kyle Larson, 2 race wins, 3 stage wins

6. Chris Buescher, 2 race wins, 1 stage win

7. Ross Chastain, 1 race win, 5 stage wins

8. Tyler Reddick, 1 race win, 4 stage wins

9. Ryan Blaney, 1 race win, 3 stage wins

10. Joey Logano, 1 race win, 3 stage wins

11. Christopher Bell, 1 race win, 2 stage wins

12. Michael McDowell, 1 race win, 1 stage win

13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 1 race win

The final three spots will be filled by any driver who can win one of the next two races. Since there won’t be 16 different winners in the regular season, the remaining spot (or spots) will be filled based on points. Here’s how the points stack up for winless drivers:

14. Kevin Harvick, +145 points above the cutline

15. Brad Keselowski, +143 points

16. Bubba Wallace, +28 points

17. Daniel Suarez, -28 points below the cutline

18. Ty Gibbs, -49 points

19. Chase Elliott, -80 points

20. Alex Bowman, -80 points

21. AJ Allmendinger, -87 points

22. Austin Cindric, -105 points

A driver can make up a maximum of 54 points in a race without winning (second-place finish and two stage wins is 55 points, last-place is one point), so the following drivers are too far back to make the playoffs on points. Here are the drivers facing a must-win situation:

23. Justin Haley

24. Aric Almirola

25. Ryan Preece

26. Corey LaJoie

27. Todd Gilliland

28. Erik Jones

29. Austin Dillon

30. Harrison Burton

31. Chase Briscoe

32. Ty Dillon

NASCAR Watkins Glen past winners, race history

Hendrick Motorsports has dominated at Watkins Glen lately, winning the last four races – two for Elliott (2018, 2019) and two for Larson (2021, 2022).

Elliott and Larson are joined by Busch (2008, 2013) as two-time winners at Watkins Glen, while no other active driver has multiple victories. Tony Stewart (5) and Jeff Gordon (4) have the most wins all-time at Watkins Glen.

The other active past winners include Harvick (2006), Allmendinger (2014), Logano (2015), Hamlin (2016) and Truex (2017).

NASCAR at Watkins Glen favorites, predictions for this weekend

The aforementioned Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins in 36 races since NASCAR returned to The Glen in 1986.

Elliott leads all drivers with two wins and a 5.7 average finish in six career starts, finishing no worse than 13th and leading 161 of the last 360 laps dating back to 2018. Larson, meanwhile, has won the last two races since joining Hendrick and holds a 10.5 average finish in eight career starts. Those two could be tough to beat on Sunday.

Beyond the Hendrick duo, the contenders could include Bell (7.5 average finish in two starts), Reddick (8.5 in two starts), Allmendinger (9.2 in 11 starts) and Busch (10.5 in 17 starts). McDowell and Suarez, who finished first and third, respectively, last week at the Indianapolis road course, also figure to be in the mix.

What is the weather for Watkins Glen, N.Y., this weekend?

NBC New York is predicting a clear weekend in the Finger Lakes. There’s a 6% chance of rain on Saturday with mostly sunny skies and a high of 77 degrees. On Sunday, there’s a 5% chance of rain, a high of 86 degrees and mostly sunny skies. Watkins Glen has wet weather tires for racing in inclement conditions, but it appears that will be irrelevant this weekend. Keep up to date with the latest forecast right here.

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