NASCAR Road Racing this Week at Sonoma in the Toyota/Save Mart 350

NASCAR racing at Sonoma Raceway in 2019
NASCAR racing at Sonoma Raceway in 2019 (Photo credit: YouTube)

This weekend will be another road course as the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Sonoma Raceway in California for the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

Road course stops on the circuit are where any driver has a real shot at winning. It doesn’t take the biggest teams in the sport with the most money to win on a road course. The smallest single-car team can play the right strategy and find themselves with a chance to win at the end of a road course race. Here is what the teams will be facing at Sonoma.

Sonoma Raceway Data
Track Size: 2.52-miles
Number of Turns: 12 varying
Track: Multi-Elevational Road Course

Toyota/Save Mart 350 Data
Season Race #: 15 of 36 (06-06-21)
Race Length
: 90 laps / 226.8 miles
Stage 1 and 2 Length: 20 laps (each)
Final Stage Length: 50 laps

A 90-lap race doesn’t seem like much for a NASCAR race. However, when you consider each lap will take more than a minute and a half to complete (compared to around thirty seconds at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend) it is a challenging task for drivers. The NASCAR Cup Series did not race at Sonoma in 2020. That means that drivers will be rolling back two years in their memories for how to get around the track. Here are the active drivers who have met that challenge well during their careers in the top NASCAR division.

Top 12 Sonoma Driver Ratings
Kurt Busch ………….105.2
Martin Truex Jr. ……..96.8
Kevin Harvick ……….94.5
Kyle Busch …………..93.7
Chase Elliott …………89.4
Ryan Newman ……….85.7
Denny Hamlin ……….84.9
Kyle Larson ………….83.0
Joey Logano ………….82.7
Brad Keselowski ……..78.9
Ryan Blaney ………….77.7
Daniel Suarez …………74.9
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2020 races (15 total) among active drivers at Sonoma Raceway.

There are only four active drivers that have ever won a NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway.

Martin Truex Jr – 3 Wins (2013, 2018, 2019)
Kyle Busch – 2 Wins (2008, 2015)
Kevin Harvick – 1 Win (2017)
Kurt Busch – 1 Win (2011)

Among those four drivers who have won at Sonoma, only two of them (Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch) have won in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season so far. Can either Kevin Harvick or Kurt Busch double their career Sonoma wins to score their first win of the season?

With the high number of drivers that have not won a Cup Series race at Sonoma, chance would favor a first-time winner this weekend. However, the odds would likely point towards Martin Truex Jr. this weekend. He does have three previous Sonoma wins (the most) and three 2021 NASCAR Cup Series wins (also the most).

We will have to see how it all plays out Sunday, June 6th starting at 3 p.m. central time (4 p.m. eastern time) in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

By: Buck Stevens
Buck Stevens