NASCAR Remigrates West for Road-Course Racing
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series migrates west for the first road course event of the year at Sonoma Raceway in California for the Toyota Save Mart 350. This is the first of two road course events on the schedule for the series.
Over the years, Sonoma Raceway has had its share of name changes from Sears Point Raceway to Infineon Raceway to Sonoma Raceway. The course is 2.52-miles in length, and features more than 160 feet of elevation change. Throughout the event, drivers will make 1,100 left and right turns.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has raced in Sonoma 27 times. There have been 16 different pole winners with Joey Logano as the youngest and Rusty Wallace as the oldest. 18 different drives have won at Sonoma, with Kyle Busch as the youngest and Ricky Rudd as the oldest. Five times has the race been won from the pole, with the last time being in 2004 with Jeff Gordon. Clint Bowyer holds the race record with a speed of 83.624 mph set in 2012. Kyle Larson holds the qualifying record, set in 2015, at a speed of 96.568 mph.
Drivers talk about why they love going to Sonoma.
Kevin Harvick talks about the difference between Sonoma and Watkins Glen. “I think the biggest difference between Sonoma and Watkins Glen is that the speeds are drastically different. Sonoma is a much tighter course with sharper corners and a lot less speed, where you don’t really even use fourth gear, unless you’re saving gas. It’s a much slower track than Watkins Glen and the tires fall off a lot more than they do at The Glen. So, you’ve got to get your car to technically be very good as it turns the corner, but also keep track of the forward grip as you go through a run.”
AJ Allmendinger, who has a high chance of earning a Chase berth this weekend, talks about why he loves Sonoma. "I love Sonoma Raceway. It's a special place. You try not to have any race be more special than others, but I would love to go there and win a race. Beggars can't be choosers, but it's a hometown race for me and one of my biggest sponsors The Clorox Company. We'll be carrying their Kingsford Professional Briquets on the hood of the No. 47 as well as Ralphs. It's where I grew up so it would be a very big deal if I won there. It would be pretty special”
TV coverage from Sonoma Raceway can be seen all weekend on Fox Sports 1, the final race for FOX before NBC takes over. Performance Racing Network will have the radio coverage for the weekend.
I am 19 years old from Atlanta, GA. I have been following motorsports since I was born. Motorsports has been "passed down" in my family. I am named after NASCAR Hall of Famer, William Caleb Yarborough, also known as Cale. Growing up in the southeast, racing was something that was a Sunday tradition after church. What an honor it is to share that passion with others.