Rating The Road Course Ringers

“As NASCAR heads to the first road course of the 2007 season, we get the first influx of ‘Road Course Ringers’. I guess you could say they are the Cup version of ‘Buschwhackers’.

The main difference is that none of them have ever actually won a NASCAR Cup event road course race.

As a minor caveat, road courses aren’t new for NASCAR. The first official NASCAR (then Grand National) road course race was way back on June 13, 1954 at Linden Airport in Linden New Jersey. The 2-mile paved road course used the airports runways. Foreign cars were allowed to compete in the event and it was won by Al Keller in a Jaguar. Keller pocketed a cool $1,000.00 for the win.

This weekends Toyota Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway pays a few hundred thousand more. Several NASCAR wanabees are hoping to snag the prize money. The question for you and me though is, “Should I put them on my fantasy team?”

Here’s the shakedown on how these ‘ringers’ have performed in the NASCAR road course diversions thus far.

Average Finishes Cup Series Busch Series
Ringer Infineon Watkins Glen Mexico City Watkins Glen
Klaus Graf 17th
Terry Labonte 18th 20th
Boris Said 19th 23rd 3rd 22nd
Ron Fellows 23rd 29th 35th 12th
Brian Simo 29th 39th 22nd 31st
PJ Jones 33rd 22nd
Brandon Ash 40th      
Marc Goossens 43rd 9th
Butch Leitzinger 21st 17th

Klaus Graf

Klaus will be driving the #49 for BAM Racing. Klaus has raced in 1 Cup event (2004) at Infineon Raceway. He started 38th and finished on the lead lap in 17th.

Terry Labonte

Terry is back in action this weekend because he guarantees the #55 NAPA Hatted Ho’s car a starting spot in the race with his Championship Provisional. If the car is decent, Terry probably won’t need to use it. He has raced 18 Cup events at Infineon and 17 Cup event at Watkins Glen from 1989 – 2006. His average finish at Infineon is 18th (median is 13th). His average finish at Watkins Glen is 20th (median is 14th).

Boris Said

Boris can’t just be considered a ‘ringer’ anymore, since he is serious about racing his #160 ‘No Fear’ team in several Nextel Cup events. Boris has raced in 7 Cup events at Infineon (2000 – 06). He has raced 6 Cup events at Watkins Glen (1999, 01, 02, 03, 05, 06) and 3 Busch Series events at Watkins Glen (1998, 05, 06). His best finish at Infineon is 6th (twice). His average finish in Cup events at Infineon is 19th (his median finish is 9th). His average finish in Cup events at Watkins Glen is 23rd. His average finish in Busch Series events at Watkins Glen is 22nd. Boris finished 5th, 2nd & 3rd in the Mexico City Busch Series race (2005, 06, 07).

Ron Fellows

Ron has raced some low-budget cars with bad results. He’s also had some success in better cars. This weekend he will be driving a good car, the #96 DLP car that is normally piloted by Tony Raines. He’s won 3 Busch Series races at Watkins Glen. Ron has raced in 5 Cup events at Infineon (2001, 02, 03, 05, 06). He has raced 9 Cup events at Watkins Glen (1995, 98, 99, 00, 01, 03, 04, 05, 06). He has raced 7 Busch Series events at Watkins Glen. His average finish in Cup at Infineon is 23rd. His average finish in Cup at Watkins Glen is 29th. His average finish in the Busch Series at Watkins Glen is 12th.

Brian Simo

Brian is racing the #37 for Front Row Motorsports. Brian has raced in 3 Cup events at Infineon (2000, 01, 05). He has raced in 2 Cup events at Watkins Glen (2001, 06). His average finish respectively is 29th and 39th. The high point in NASCAR road racing was a 10th place finish in the #33 Richard Childress Racing at Infineon in 2005. Brian has raced 2 Busch Series events at Watkins Glen (1997, 06) with an average finish of 31st. He also raced in the Mexico City race earlier this year with a 22nd place finish.

PJ Jones

PJ is taking over the #00 David Reutimann Burger King ride this weekend for Michael Waltrip Racing. PJ has raced in 4 Cup events at Infineon (1993, 04, 05, 06). He has raced in 6 Cup events at Watkins Glen (1993, 94, 00, 02, 03, 05). His average finish at Infineon is 33rd. his average finish at Watkins Glen is 22nd.

Brandon Ash

Brandon is racing the #102 Dodge this weekend. Brandon has raced in 2 Cup events at Infineon (2004, 06). His average finish is 40th.

Marc Goossens

Marc is racing the #191 Toyota this weekend. Marc has raced in 1 Cup event at Watkins Glen (2006) and 1 Busch Series event at Mexico City (2006). He finished 43rd and 9th respectively.

Butch Leitzinger

Butch is racing the #36 Toyota for Bill Davis Racing this weekend. Butch Leitzinger has raced in 3 Cup events (1994, 95, 96) at Watkins Glen and 5 Busch Series events at Watkins Glen (1994, 95, 96, 00, 06). He has not race at Infineon Raceway in the NASCAR series. His average finish in Cup events at Watkins Glen is 21st. His average finish in Busch Series events at Watkins Glen is 17th.

I’m putting my fantasy money on Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.”