The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series travels to Sonoma Raceway this weekend for the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Thirty-eight drivers will compete but only one will make it to the Wine Country Winner’s Circle for a champagne celebration.
Sunday’s race will be the 29th Cup Series event at Sonoma. The inaugural race was held on June 11, 1989, with Ricky Rudd holding off Rusty Wallace to win the Banquet Frozen Foods 300. It was his only victory that year, though Rudd would go on to win again in 2002. But did you know he is one of only six drivers with multiple wins at the track?
Jeff Gordon leads the series with five victories at the road course, including three consecutively, from 1998 – 2000. Tony Stewart has three trophies but did you know he captured the final win of his Cup career last year at Sonoma, ending an 84-race winless drought?
Ernie Irvan, Rusty Wallace and Rudd have two wins each. Kyle Busch has scored two checkered flags, in 2008 and 2015, and is the only active driver with multiple wins.
The Sonoma race will consist of 110 laps on the 1.990-miles road course which is lined with 1,000 tire packs made up of 25,000 tires. But did you know that each driver who completes the Toyota/Save Mart 350 will make 1,100 turns during the race?
Kyle Larson heads to Sonoma as the points leader after his win last week at Michigan, giving him two victories this year. He has the series fifth-best driver rating (90.0) at the track with a best finish of 12th place last year. But did you know that he is one of nine drivers who has secured a spot in the playoffs with wins?
The only way any of them would fail to make the playoffs is if there are more new winners than spots left in the 16-driver field. As it now stands, Jimmie Johnson (3), Brad Keselowski (2), Martin Truex Jr. (2), Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will almost certainly join Larson as participants in the playoffs.
Rounding out the top five at Sonoma are Kurt Busch (107.8), with the series-best driver rating, followed by Johnson (99.9), Clint Bowyer (90.2) and Kyle Busch (90.1)
Kyle Busch and Bowyer are both winless this season but did you know they are among six active drivers with Sonoma victories? Kyle Busch has won twice (2008, 2015) while Clint Bowyer (2012), Kurt Busch (2011), Jimmie Johnson (2010), Kasey Kahne (2009) and Truex (2013) each have one win.
One more interesting statistic — In his final trip to Sonoma as a full-time Cup Series driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. may not be anyone’s favorite to win. But did you know that he leads all drivers with a 7.0 average finish in the last three races at Sonoma?
Qualifying will be crucial this weekend as the pole position is the most proficient starting position. It has produced more wins than any other position, with five, while the second starting position has produced three wins. But did you know that Juan Pablo Montoya won from the deepest in the field in 2007 after starting in 32nd place?
The on-track action begins Friday afternoon with two practices while Coors Light Pole qualifying will be held on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. ET. Be sure to tune into The Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sunday at 3 p.m. on FS1 for the 16th race of the season. In the meantime, check out the video below as we remember Tony Stewart’s last trip to victory lane.
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