Last year, Kevin Harvick made a substantial impact for many young drivers, including NASCAR Next driver Will Rodgers. This year, five NASCAR Monster Energy Cup series drivers will start in the NASCAR K&N Pro West race in Sonoma on Saturday, June 23.
Alex Bowman, William Byron, Daniel Suarez, Eric Jones and Aric Almirola will join the 31-car entry list for Saturday’s Carneros 200.
Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez will compete in the No. 20 and No. 54 Toyota cars owned by David Gilliland
Alex Bowman will drive the No. 24 Chevrolet owned by Bill McAnally, and run as a teammate for Hailie Deegan. William Byron will be in the No. 27 Jerry Pitts Chevrolet, that won last year’s event with Kevin Harvick behind the wheel.
“It kept me from sitting around and trying to find something to do on Saturday,” said Harvick about last year’s race. “I’m sitting around and there’s guys out there making laps and learning things, and I think that’s the most important thing is to never take for granted that you have to try to expand your knowledge and keep an open mind to making things better.”
Aric Almirola, who missed last year’s Cup race due to his back injury from his crash at Kentucky Speedway, will pilot the Tony Stewart owned No. 41 Ford.
Three drivers in the current NASCAR Next class are also scheduled in the entry list for the first K&N West road course race of the season. Among those is Will Rodgers, pole winner of last year’s race, who had a second place finish to Kevin Harvick. Derek Kraus, who won the season opener at Bakersfield, has already claimed three poles so far this year and currently sits third in the points standings. Hailie Deegan, daughter of the freestyle motocross stunt rider Brian Deegan, has finished no worse than eighth in all five K&N West races this season.
“I think it’s going to be fun! The track is hard, though. If you make a mistake, you’re definitely going to pay,” said Deegan, who will race in the No. 19 Mobil 1/NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing and have Alex Bowman as a teammate. “It’s cool they throw a couple of road course races into the NASCAR circuit. It’s just something cool and different than not everyone gets to experience.”
The Carneros 200 will kick off the weekend with a practice session on Friday and qualifying on Saturday morning. The green flag is scheduled to wave for the 64-lap feature at 1:30 p.m. local time.