NASCAR Pre-Race Media: Sonoma Track Trends, Race Preview, etc

TRACK: Sonoma Raceway (1.99 mile, 12 turn road course). DISTANCE: 110 Laps — STAGE 1: 25 Laps, STAGE 2: 30 Laps, FINAL STAGE: 50 Laps, MILES (218.9 Miles)

  • Toyota has won 2 of the last 3 races with Martin Truex Jr. including 3 of the last 6 visits overall.
  • Truex Jr. has led the most laps in 3 of the last 4 years.
  • Chevrolet just earned their 2nd win in the last 10 races and just 3 in the last 14.
  • Ford has won just twice in the last 18 Sonoma Cup races.
  • Between JGR, or an affiliate as well as SHR, they’ve combined to win five of the last six races in Sonoma.
  • They’ll go back to the 1.99-mile layout. Last year was the 11th race on the 2.52 mile layout, including 2nd straight, but the last before 2019 was 1997. 1998 through 2018 was run on this current layout.
  • Last pole winner other than Kyle Larson last year to win the race was Jeff Gordon in 2004.
  • Just three times in the last 10 years has the winner come from a top five starting spot.
  • Due to being able to pit and not lose a lap, the top drivers typically give up stage points to pit just before the ending of that segment for track position after. Just twice in the four year stage era at Sonoma has the eventual race winner placed inside of the top 10 in a stage. One was Martin Truex Jr. finishing seventh in the second stage of 2019 and the other with Larson last year sweeping both stages. The other five combined stages, the race winner didn’t get finish in the top 10 of those stages.

TRACK COMPARISONS

Slower more technical road course on the schedule. More run off space than most other places to where if you get off track, more than likely you’re getting into the sand and not a wall. The final 2 corners and Turn 2 the best passing spots. That makes this a tough comparison to anywhere else on the schedule.


SONOMA, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 06: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 06, 2021 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Favorites

Martin Truex Jr. 

He’s led the most laps in 3 of the last 4 years in Sonoma. He’s won this race three times including three straight top three finishes overall.

Kyle Larson

He had a resurgence on road courses last season including a win in which he swept both stages to go along with leading 57 of 92 laps en route to the race win. He has scored four straight poles there as well.

Chase Elliott

He’s dominated the Daytona road course, the ROVAL as well as Watkins Glen. He’s just won in COTA last year. He’s also 0-for-5 in Sonoma though. But, Elliott does have three top eight results in his last four Sonoma tries too including a runner-up last year.

Denny Hamlin

He’s had five straight top 10’s including three of which being in the top five. He had just one top five and two total top 10’s in his previous 10 Sonoma starts before that.

Kyle Busch

He’s a two-time Sonoma winner and has scored five top five finishes in his last six wine country starts including a worst finish of seventh in this time frame.

Kevin Harvick

He’s a past winner to go along with having five top six Sonoma finishes in his last six tries.

Sleepers

Ryan Blaney

He was third in this race in 2019, ninth in 2017 and 10th last year.

Kurt Busch

He’s a past Sonoma winner and has five top 10’s in his last six starts there too.

Alex Bowman

He’s been 9th in 2 of his last three Sonoma starts.

Ross Chastain

He was solid on road courses last season including a seventh place run on this very track.

Aric Almirola

Almirola, isn’t known as a strong road racer, but he does have two top 10 finishes in his last three Sonoma tries.


SONOMA, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 06: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem/Smurfit Kappa Toyota, William Byron, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Ross Chastain, driver of the #42 Clover Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 06, 2021 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Who To Fade?

Brad Keselowski

He has 1 top five result in 11 Sonoma tries. In fact, 9 of his 11 races have seen him finish 12th or worst including 13th, 18th and 15th respectively in his last three tries.

Joey Logano

He may have been fourth last year but his previous three finishes were 12th, 19th and 23rd respectively.

William Byron

25th, 19th and 35th are his three Sonoma finishes.

Austin Dillon

Out of his seven Sonoma starts, his best finish is 13th. The other six saw him finish 16th or worse.


Of Note

Chase Elliott has dominated on the road courses lately but is 0-for-5 in Sonoma


Key Stat

8 of the previous 9 races on this layout saw the event go to the scheudled distance and not go into OT.

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