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NASCAR Weekend Preview: Sonoma and Gateway

SONOMA, CA – JUNE 24: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 DC Photo voltaic Chevrolet, leads the sector through the Monster Power NASCAR Cup Collection Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 24, 2018 in Sonoma, California. (Photograph by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Photographs)

The current retirements of NASCAR’s prime Monster Power NASCAR Cup Collection street racing aces Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon have created a chance for a new era of street racing aces.

And while many drivers in the early days of the game primarily “tolerated” the street course stops, as the game has progressed drivers have seized on the importance of honing their left-AND-right turn expertise. From taking refresher courses with instructors like Bob Bondurant or Skip Barber, to renting tracks for lapping days, to immediately’s straightforward choice simulator, simulator and more simulator.

This weekend’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway (Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will be the first street course check of the 2019 season and there are only two multi-time winners within the subject, two-time Sonoma champ Kyle Busch and two-time winner Martin Truex Jr., who arrives this weekend as the defending race winner.

Beyond Busch and Truex there are only 4 different former winners in the subject complete – Jimmie Johnson (2010), Kurt Busch (2011), Clint Bowyer (2014) and Kevin Harvick (2017).

For those who add in the different longtime street course venue, Watkins Glen (N.Y.) Worldwide – there are three extra street course previous winners: Joey Logano (2015), Denny Hamlin (2016) and Chase Elliott (2018). Plus, Ryan Blaney gained the Charlotte ROVAL debut last yr.

Noticeably absent from the Sonoma winner’s listing is the reigning collection champion Joey Logano, his Staff Penske teammate, 2012 collection champ Brad Keselowski, Truex’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones in addition to current title chasers akin to Elliott, Blaney, Aric Almirola and Alex Bowman to name a number of.

This season, Sonoma Raceway will function a new look-old look course with the addition of the famed Carousel flip. It extends the monitor from 1.99-miles to 2.52-miles and creates a professional new problem for the complete area. Nobody entered in Sunday’s race could have competed in a Cup Collection race on this course format. The last time it was used during a Cup race was 1997.

Amongst those still making an attempt to sip from their first Sonoma victory goblet are current collection champion Logano and his teammates Keselowski and Blaney.

Logano is 0-for-10, Keselowski is Zero-for-9 and the 25-year previous Blaney is 0-for-Three. The trio have a mixed for six prime 10s complete. Third place is the profession greatest displaying for each Logano (2013) and Keselowski (2017) at Sonoma. Blaney’s greatest work was ninth place in 2017 while driving for the Wooden Brothers workforce.

Hamlin, who like Logano has gained at the historic Watkins Glen street course, is 0-for-13 at Sonoma. He was involved, nevertheless, in considered one of – if not THE – most dramatic finishes in current Sonoma history, ending runner-up to current NASCAR Hall of Fame honoree Tony Stewart in a last lap duel to the checkered flag in 2016. Hamlin has led 96 laps at Sonoma in six races, together with the final three collection’ visits to the course. He has a pair of prime fives – and three prime 10s – within the last three races.

Chase Elliott, 23, last yr’s Watkins Glen winner, has yet to steer a lap at Sonoma, but his greatest end in three starts is fourth, last yr. He was eighth in 2017 and has made regular progress toward a trophy.

Kyle Larson, 26, a racing hero in his native California, has gained the pole position the final two collection stops in Sonoma, however continues to be on the lookout for his first prime 10 in what is going to now be his sixth race. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver’s greatest displaying is 12th in 2016.

Each Elliott and Larson earned resounding victories at Sonoma within the NASCAR Okay&N Professional Collection West earlier of their careers.

“I have enjoyed road racing in these cars,” stated Elliott, who drives the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Hendrick Motorsports, which is the winningest staff (six victories) at Sonoma.

“I think road course racing suits these cars well, which is fun. We don’t do it a whole lot and that makes it cool when we do have a chance. I’ve enjoyed it. Sonoma is a very tough race track and it’s been an extreme challenge for me to try and get around there at a decent pace. I always look forward to going out there. It’s a cool part of the country and since we only go there once a year, that’s what makes it special.”


This Saturday’s CarShield 200 at World Large Know-how Raceway at Gateway (10 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) marks the third and remaining leg of the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Collection’ inaugural Triple Truck Problem. Final week’s race winner Brett Moffitt and his GMS Racing group are eligible for a $150,00Zero bonus ought to he win once more this week at World Extensive Know-how Raceway at Gateway. A $50,000 incentive awaits a first-time winner.

MADISON, IL – JUNE 23: Grant Enfinger,  and Christian Eckes, lead the sector past the green flag to start out the NASCAR Tenting World Truck Collection Villa Lighting delivers the Eaton 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 23, 2018 in Madison, Illinois. (Photograph by Jeff Curry/Getty Photographs)

As is so typically the case in this collection, there’s loads of dramatic alternative. Not solely does Moffitt stand to win the large paycheck, but another victory would make him the primary multi-time winner among collection regulars. John Hunter Nemechek is the only driver to win at Iowa and Gateway consecutively, doing so in 2017.

Definitely a brand new race winner will emerge with no former Gateway winners entered. Last yr’s runner-up Todd Gilliland is hoping that’s promising information for him. The 19-year-old finished runner-up to Justin Haley by 0.753-second. And the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver is so desperate to earn his first collection win and has turned in a strong season effort. He has three top-10 finishes in the final 4 races and gained the pole position and led a season greatest 31 laps at Texas. His greatest displaying in 2019 is third at Kansas.

Gilliland’s KBM teammate Harrison Burton, in the meantime, is in high quality form towards a Sunoco Rookie of the Yr crown. The son of former Monster Power NASCAR Cup Collection driver Jeff Burton, brings a on a streak of five consecutive top-10 finishes and is coming off a profession best of third place at Iowa – a mark he equaled at Dover earlier this season. He’s solely led two laps in the No. 18 KBM Toyota Tundra – one at Atlanta and one at Dover.

For the second consecutive week, Gilliland and Burton may have ARCA Menards Collection star Chandler Smith as a teammate in the truck race. The 16-year-old Smith led 55 laps from the pole place last week at Iowa and finished eighth. And that was solely hours AFTER had he gained his second ARCA Menards Collection race on the season (fourth in his career.)

Monster Power NASCAR Cup Collection
Next Race: Toyota/Save Mart 350
The Place: Sonoma Raceway
The Date: Sunday, June 23
The Time: Three:00 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 226.eight miles (90 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Ultimate Stage (Ends on Lap 90)
2018 Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

What to Watch For: Solely six former Sonoma winners are in Sunday’s area. Only Kyle Busch and defending race winner Martin Truex Jr. have gained multiple occasions (twice each). … Jeff Gordon is the winningest driver at Sonoma (five wins). His  fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison holds the all-time mark for wins (six) at a single street course (Riverside, Calif.). … Gordon’s 9 victories complete on street programs is most all-time. …Gordon also holds the excessive mark for runner-up finishes (5) at Sonoma. …Kurt Busch leads all lively drivers with 198 laps led at Sonoma is second all-time to Jeff Gordon (457). … Clint Bowyer’s eight top-five finishes is most in this week’s area. Gordon holds the all-time mark at 14. …The pole place is the winningest spot on the beginning grid producing five winners. … However it’s been 15 years since a race was from the pole place (Jeff Gordon in 2004). … The farthest again on the starting grid a winner has started is 32nd – Juan Pablo Montoya in 2007. … Solely twice has a winner started worse than 15th on the grid. … Ryan Newman has made probably the most starts (17) with no Sonoma win. …Mark Martin led probably the most laps (66 of 74) not to earn the win, dropping to the late fellow NASCAR Corridor of Famer Dale Earnhardt in 1995. … Martin has been concerned in the three closest Sonoma finishes. He misplaced to Gordon by .197-second in June, 1999 – the closest Margin of Victory in the race’s history. …Californian Kyle Larson holds the all-time mark for greatest common starting position (2.800). …There are solely three former pole winners (Kyle Larson 2017-18, Joey Logano, 2011 and Kurt Busch, 2006) within the area. … In 2008, Kyle Busch turned the monitor’s youngest winner (23 years, one month). …Chevrolet is the winningest producer with 11 wins. Among these competing this weekend, Ford has eight and Toyota has five. … Hendrick Motorsports is the winningest group at Sonoma with six victories. Joe Gibbs Racing is next on the record with 4. …Sonoma has historically fared properly with the climate. It’s by no means had a race postponed or shortened because of climate.

NASCAR Gander Outside Truck Collection
Subsequent Race: CarShield 200 introduced by CK Power
The Place: World Large Know-how Raceway
The Date: Saturday, June 22
The Time: 10 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 9:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200 miles (160 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 35),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 70), Remaining Stage (Ends on Lap 160)
2018 Race Winner: Justin Haley

What to Watch For: This is third and remaining race of the collection’ Triple Truck Problem. Last week’s winner Brett Moffitt stands to win an extra $150,00Zero if he hoists the trophy again this week. Any new winner earns a $50,000 bonus as a part of the program. …No driver has ever gained back-to-back truck races at Gateway. … Defending race winner Justin Haley, who earned his first collection victory in this race final yr, gained’t be competing this weekend. He’s trying to qualify for the Monster Power NASCAR Cup Collection race at Sonoma, Calif. as an alternative. …There are not any former winners entered this week, guaranteeing a brand new Gateway victor. …Ted Musgrave is the one driver to earn a number of wins at Gateway (2001 and 2005). … The entrance row of the beginning grid has produced probably the most race winners (eight). 5 occasions the surface polesitter has gained the race, probably the most victories for anybody beginning position. …The last time a polesitter gained the race was 2010 (Kevin Harvick). …The fewest cautions in this race is three and that has occurred 4 occasions (2000, ’01, ’02 and ’17). …Ted Musgrave led probably the most laps (158 of 160) in a single race, earning the victory in 2005. …. David Starr led the fewest laps (one) for a race winner in 2004. …The current Xfinity Collection championship contenders Cole Custer and Christopher Bell gained back-to-back races at Gateway in 2015 (Custer) and 2016 (Bell). …The driving force who leads probably the most laps has NOT gained four of the last 5 races. Bubba Wallace is the last race winner (2014) to steer probably the most laps (85). …The farthest back on the beginning grid a race winner has started is 14th – David Starr (2004). ….Rick Carelli was the inaugural truck race winner at Gateway in 1998. ….Chevrolet is the winningest automotive producer on the monitor, earning eight wins. Toyota has 5, Ford has two.  … A manufacturer has gained back-to-back races only twice. Toyota did in 2006-07 and Chevrolet carries a two-race profitable streak into this weekend’s event. …Harrison Burton leads Sheldon Creed by 43 points within the Sunoco Rookie of the Yr race.