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NASCAR At Watkins Glen: Race Start On Hold Due To Rain And Stories To Watch

NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at Watkins Glen International is going to happen - eventually.

The start of the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen is on hold because of rain. The forcast for the day is not promising, and given the time needed to dry a drenched 2.45-mile road course makes a race today unlikely.

The 2009 race was similarly plagued by rain. Tony Stewart won that Monday, his record fifth triumph at the track.

With the race on hold and likely headed for postponement, there is plenty of time to take a look at the stories to watch for the race.

Who helps and who hurts their Chase hopes? The battle to make the Chase, especially with the new rules for this season, has come to somewhat overshadow the individual races themselves. With road racing being a different kind of animal, however, the Glen could provide the perfect boost - or the nail in the coffin - for a driver's hopes of making the playoff. The right strategy could steal a solid finish - or even a win, putting a driver in position for one of the wild-card spots - while the wrong strategy could leave a driver with a miserable finish and a possibly insurmountable gap to the Chase.

Does a road course ringer finally break through? As we said in June before the Sonoma race, no road course ringer has won since the late Mark Donohue at Riverside in 1973. Ron Fellows and Boris Said have come close in previous years, with Fellows recording second-place finishes to Jeff Gordon in 1999 and Tony Stewart in 2004.

Can Marcos Ambrose finally get to victory lane? The Australian V8 Supercar standout won three-consecutive Nationwide races at Watkins Glen from 2008-10, but he is still looking for his maiden Sprint Cup victory. Ambrose ran second to Stewart in the rain-postponed race in 2009, a performance sandwiched between a pair of third-place finishes in 2008 and 2010.

How far can Denny Hamlin get through the field? Hamlin starts 42nd after spinning and tagging the wall on his qualifying lap. He is 11th in the standings - and currently in position for a wild card spot - but a bad showing could cost him significantly and would loom large if his No. 11 Toyota were on the outside looking in when the Chase field is set at his home track in Richmond.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.