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Tight points battle in Nationwide heading into Watkins Glen

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Updated: 8/08 3:03 pm

Heading into the 200-mile race at Watkins Glen, JR Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Regan Smith are 1-2, respectively, in the Nationwide point standings. Elliott, a rookie in the series this season, holds just a two-point advantage over Smith. Elliott Sadler from Joe Gibbs Racing and Ty Dillon from Richard Childress Racing are both 12 points behind the leader.

Elliott has three Nationwide wins this season, which is the most among series- regulars. Sprint Cup regulars Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski have three Nationwide victories in 2014 as well.

This will be the first time Elliott competes at Watkins Glen. He finished fourth at Road America.

"I've heard nothing but amazing things about the track [Watkins Glen] and have always wanted to race on it," Elliott said. "This weekend, I'll have my shot. I plan on shifting gears better than I did at Road America and putting my team in a position late in the race. We are ready to rebound from back-to-back disappointing weekends [finished 12th at Indianapolis and eighth at Iowa]."

Smith's hometown of Cato, New York is located roughly 80 miles northeast of this racetrack. His crew chief, Ryan Pemberton, hails from Albany, New York. Smith has three Nationwide starts at Watkins Glen, with his best finish of fourth occurring in last year's race.

"I always look forward to heading back home and doing some road racing," Smith said. "I haven't lived in New York since I was kid, but it's still a trip I get excited about. We had a strong run at the Glen last year, and we were solid at Road America earlier this summer [13th-place finish]."

Sadler has finished 12th or better in the last three Nationwide races at Watkins Glen, including a fifth-place run here in 2013. Dillon, also a rookie in the series this season, will be competing at this track for the first time.

Thirty-nine teams are on the entry list for the Zippo 200 at the Glen. Marcos Ambrose, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Josh Wise, Busch and Keselowski are those Sprint Cup regulars competing in this race. Keselowski won here last year.

Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, Aug. 9. Race: Zippo 200 at the Glen. Site: Watkins Glen International. Track: 2.45-mile, 7-turn road course. Start time: 2:15 p.m. ET. Laps: 82. Miles: 200.9. 2013 Winner: Brad Keselowski. Television: ABC. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.

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