The Watkins Glen International road course has been hosting NASCAR Cup Series races since 1986. However, 2020 was not one of them, as the series' annual stop at Upstate New York was shifted to the Daytona Road Course instead, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
For the 2021 NASCAR season, Watkins Glen is back on the roster and will host one of seven scheduled road course races.
Tony Stewart holds the record for the most wins at the Glen, having triumphed in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2009. Jeff Gordon is second-best to Stewart with a total of four wins.
With that in mind, let's take a look at each of his wins at Watkins Glen and how it came about.
Tony Stewart had a rather rough week in the lead-up to the race at Watkins Glen.
He was involved in an altercation with a photographer post the Brickyard 400, which resulted in him being fined by NASCAR and also penalized with a 25-point deduction.
Stewart qualified 3rd for the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen, and instead of being bogged down by past events, channelized his energy in leading 34 laps on his way to winning the race.
This race wasn't free of controversy either as it was revealed that Stewart had jumped the restart. However, officials later upheld his win, marking his first of five wins at Watkins Glen.
That same year, Tony Stewart also went on to win his first Winston Cup championship.
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The win at the 2004 Sirius at The Glen didn't come easy either.
Starting in the fourth position, Stewart battled a stomach bug as he persisted against Canadian road ringer Ron Fellows and eventually edged him off to claim victory.
Unlike 2002, Stewart could not keep the form going as he finished sixth in the Cup points standings.
The win in 2005 will go down as one of Tony Stewart's most dominant performances at Watkins Glen.
The Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen saw Stewart allow only three other drivers (Jeff Gordon, Robby Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson) to lead multiple laps as he himself led a total of 83 to win the race.
The win was Stewart's No. 20 Chevrolet's fifth victory in seven races - Sonoma Raceway, Daytona International Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway were the other four wins - while setting the record for most laps led by a race winner.
He also won his second Cup Series title at the end of the season.
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This win at Watkins Glen could be the easiest of the three mentioned above, but the fact that Tony Stewart applied enough pressure on Jeff Gordon to induce a mistake on him is a credit to Stewart's ability behind the wheel.
Gordon was in the lead consistently after having started from pole and led 51 laps. However, a self-destructive spin on Turn 1 with just two laps to go allowed Stewart to get past and take the checkered flag at the Centurion Boats at The Glen.
It was also his fourth career win on this road course.
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2009 saw Tony Stewart make a move from Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) to Haas CNC Racing where he took half ownership of the team to form Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
Driving the No. 14 Chevrolet in the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen, which saw delays due to rain, Stewart held off Marcos Ambrose on his way to a 36th career win and the fifth at Watkins Glen.
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Other Drivers who have won at Watkins Glen
Buck Baker- 1957
Billy Wade- 1964
Marvin Panch- 1965
Tim Richmond- 1986
Rusty Wallace- 1987, 1989
Ricky Rudd- 1988, 1990
Ernie Irvan- 1991
Kyle Petty- 1992
Mark Martin- 1993, 1994, 1995
Geoff Bodine- 1996
Jeff Gordon- 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001
Steve Park- 2000
Robby Gordon- 2003
Kevin Harvick- 2006
Kyle Busch- 2008, 2013
Juan Pablo Montoya- 2010
Marcos Ambrose- 2011, 2012
AJ Allmendinger- 2014
Joey Logano- 2015
Denny Hamlin- 2016
Martin Truex Jr- 2017
Chase Elliott- 2018, 2019
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