Monday, June 27, 2016

What's next for Tony Stewart following Sonoma win?

Tony Stewart was 100/1 to win the Chase before winning at Sonoma.
LAS VEGAS -- Tony Stewart's Sonoma win on Sunday makes him eligible to be one of the final 16 drivers participating in the seasons final 10 races during the Chase for the Championship. All he has to do now is get himself into 30th-place and he'll be on his way to re-producing the same type of storyline as Kyle Busch last year when he won at Sonoma and it helped propel him to the season title. Stewart is currently in 32nd-place after missing the first eight races, but only needs to make up nine points over the next 10 races.

Before the win, Stewart was listed at 100-to-1 odds to win the 2016 Chase. That number is surely to drop almost in half now that he's so close to making it. How he'll perform from here on out is still a mystery because it was only his third top-10 in eight races and one of those he needed a mid-race replacement driver to finish at Talladega. However, this win could be a jump start for him, a psycholocal boost of sorts after all the tragedy he's endured physically and emotionally the past three seasons.

Sunday's win ended an 84-race winless streak. His last win was at Dover in 2013. Stewart hopes his 2016 story ends up just like Busch's did last year. Following Busch's Sonoma, he would go on to win three of the next four races in July and then eventually winning his first title. Stewart is looking to win his fourth title and what a story it would be if he were to ride off into the sunset a champion in his final season like Peyton Manning or John Elway.

Even if he hadn't won last week he'd still be a good candidate to win Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. He's never won the Daytona 500, and he missed his final attempt this year because of an off-season road racing accident, but he is a four-time winner in the summer race at Daytona, the last one coming in 2012. He's also led 668 laps over 34 Daytona starts which is most among all active drivers. Brian Vickers drove his No. 14 to a 26th-place finish in February. Because most of the cars in restrictor-plate races are so equal, a rejuvenated Stewart might offer value to win at 30-to-1 odds or higher.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

This is pretty cool: Stewart wins at Sonoma to end 84 race winless drought

Tony Stewart wins for first time in 84 races and is close in points to making Chase in his final season.
Tony Stewart won the drama-filled Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, increasing his chances of making the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup despite missing the first eight races of the season.

"It's special, trust me," Stewart said after ending an 84-race winless streak with his 49th career Cup win.

The closing laps were intense as Stewart worked hard to hold off the rest of the field in his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, with Martin Truex Jr. andDenny Hamlin stalking him.

But Truex and Hamlin kept battling each other hard, which helped Stewart increase his lead. With eight laps to go, Stewart's lead was close to two seconds over Hamlin, who finally made the pass for second on Truex one lap earlier.

By five to go, Stewart's lead was down to less than a second.

Read More Here..........Fox Sports

Final Results



Fast Facts - Sonoma Raceway:
* Tony Stewart won the 28th Annual Toyota/Save Mart 350, his 49th victory in 598 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
* This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in 2016.
* This is his third victory and 10th top-10 finish in 18 races at Sonoma Raceway.
* Stewart's last win was at Dover on June 2, 2013. There have been 110 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races since then; Stewart has started 84 of those races.
* Stewart is now 32nd in the point standings, nine points out of 30th place and a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
* Denny Hamlin (second) posted his third top-10 finish in 11 races at Sonoma Raceway. It is his seventh top-10 finish in 2016.
* Joey Logano (third) posted his fourth top-10 finish in eight races at Sonoma Raceway.
* Chase Elliott (21st) was the highest finishing rookie.
* Kevin Harvick leads the point standings by 35 points over Kurt Busch.

Now, Stewart has 10 races remaining to climb into the top 30 in points - a requirement for anyone seeking to qualify for the 16-driver, 10-race Chase. He is currently 32nd, nine out of 30th place. NASCAR can grant Stewart an injury waiver that would excuse him from missing the first eight events. The sanctioning body did the same last season for Busch, who sat out the first 11 races while recovering in 2015 before winning at Sonoma. He followed that with wins at Kentucky, New Hampshire and Indianapolis, before climbing into the top 30 in points with a runner-up finish at Watkins Glen, the 22nd of 26 regular-season races. (USA Today)

2016 Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sonoma Betting Notes

A.J. Allmendinger is trying to make 2016 Chase, road course is it.
Two weeks ago at Michigan, AJ Allmendinger was listed at 500-1 odds at the Westgate Las Vegas to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup race. This week he’s 7-1.

Why such a disparity? It all rests with his skills on the road courses, and the series races in Northern California on Sunday with the Toyota/SaveMart 350 on Sonoma Raceway’s 1.99-mile, 12-turn layout.

Allmendinger’s 2014 win at Watkins Glen International, the other road course on the schedule, propelled him as an automatic qualifier into his first Chase. That victory is the only one of his career.

The road courses are all about the driver — who can enter and exit the turns fastest. And it can be argued that he’s the best, especially now that Jeff Gordon, Marcos Ambrose and Juan Pablo Montoya are no longer in the series.

Read More Here.......LVRJ.com

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Final Sonoma Driver Ratings: 2016 Toyota/SaveMart 350

Carl Edwards will start from the pole Sunday at Sonoma.
Carl Edwards had a pair of outstanding practices Friday at Sonoma Raceway and it carried over into Saturday's qualifying as he laid down the fastest lap to capture his first pole on the 1.99-mile, 12-turn road course. However, race-favorite Kurt Busch who qualified fourth still rates as the driver to beat in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350.

The Linemakers on Sporting News


Micah Roberts' NASCAR Ratings
Toyota/Save Mart 350
Sonoma Raceway
Sunday, June 26, 2016 - 12:18 pm (PT)    
 
 
Rating     Driver       Odds     Practice 1  Practice 2  Qualified   Sonoma '15*
 1. Kurt Busch (5/1)                     11th            12th             4th                 2nd 
2011 winner, active leader with seven top-fives and 197 laps led; using 2015 road chassis.
 2. Carl Edwards (10/1)                 5th              4th             1st                40th
2014 winner, third-place in 2013 and 2011. Pole sitter won five of 27 Sonoma races (18.5%).
 3. A.J. Allmendinger (7/1)       19th            15th           2nd                37th
Captured only career win in 2014 on the other road course at the faster Watkins Glen Int'l.
 4. Jimmie Johnson (7/1)          15th            13th           15th                6th
2010 winner, ninth or better in past seven starts. Led race-high 45 laps in last seasons race.
 5. Kyle Busch (10/1)                    14th              5th            8th                  1st
Two-time winner, including last season -- his only top-fives in 11 career starts (19.09 avg).
 6. Martin Truex Jr. (10/1)            3rd            10th            3rd               42nd 
2013 with 21st-place average finish in 10 starts. Best 10-consecutive lap average in practice 2.
 7. Kasey Kahne (30/1)                24th              9th          19th                 8th
2009 winner after not cracking top-20 in first five attempts; eighth or better past three starts.
 8. Kevin Harvick (7/1)                 17th           18th           25th                 4th 
2007 runner-up and using chassis this week that had top-fives in both 2015 road course races.
 9. Joey Logano (15/1)                10th            16th            7th                  5th
Career-best fifth last year continuing trend of him getting better on road courses every year.
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (18/1)       4th              1st            13th                7th
Didn't have a top-10 in first 14 starts, but was third in 2014 and then seventh last year.

* Results from June 28, 2015 Sonoma race

Odds courtesy of the Westgate SuperBook.

Micah Roberts, a former Las Vegas sports book director, has been setting NASCAR odds since 1994. Follow him on twitter @MicahRoberts7

Friday, June 24, 2016

Pretty simple for Allmendinger: Win at Sonoma and make Chase

Las Vegas lists A.J. Allmendinger at 8/1 to win at Sonoma Sunday.
Win and you’re in.

That’s the ticket to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – and a phrase AJ Allmendinger knows as well as anyone.

The road-course ace scored a surprise victory in 2014 at Watkins Glen International to capture his first-ever Chase berth and first career win. Last year, he was favored at both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road courses – Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen – after winning their poles, but failed to reach Victory Lane and missed out on NASCAR’s playoffs.

Allmendinger, from nearby San Jose, California, returns to Sonoma for Sunday’s Toyota / Save Mart 350 (3 p.m. ET on FS1) focused on earning one of the remaining six Chase spots.

“Sonoma Raceway is a place where the last two years we’ve been really fast, but have had some bad luck, or self-induced luck,” Allmendinger said. “We’ve been fast enough the last few races. However you want to look at it, we haven’t gotten the job done. Sonoma and Watkins Glen International were always the races that we circled on the calendar to know that those are going to be the chances to win to get in The Chase.”

In seven starts at Sonoma, Allmendinger claims only two top 10s, but has been hurt by bad luck in the last two races there, placing 37th in both. In addition to winning the pole at the 1.99-mile track least season, he started second there in 2014.

On Sunday, the No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Racing driver will attempt to become the 11th winner in the last 12 Sonoma races.

Allmendinger sits 19th on the Chase Grid, 27 points behind 16th-place Ryan Blaney for the final berth in NASCAR’s playoffs. With Kasey Kahne and Trevor Bayne between him and Blaney, as well as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tied with him, a win is Allmendinger’s best shot at landing a bid to The Chase.

“I love Sonoma Raceway; it’s a special place,” Allmendinger said. “You try not to have any race be more special than others, but I would love to go there and win a race. Beggars can’t be choosers, but it’s a hometown race for me and one of my biggest sponsors The Clorox Company… It’s where I grew up so it would be a very big deal if I won there. It would be pretty special.”

- NASCAR Wire Service

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Notes: Race No. 16 at Sonoma Raceway

There have been 10 different winners in the past 11 Sonoma Cup races.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Next Race: Toyota / Save Mart 350
The Place: Sonoma Raceway
The Date: Sunday, June 26
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 1:30 p.m.
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 218.9 miles (110 laps)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Drivin for Linemen 200 brought to you by Altec
The Place: Gateway Motorsports Park
The Date: Saturday, June 25
The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200 miles (160 laps)


NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES


We’re Going Racing! NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Returns After Off Weekend

After having the weekend off, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads west to Sonoma Raceway for its first road-course race of the season – Sunday’s Toyota / Save Mart 350 (3 p.m. ET on FS1).

Kyle Busch is the defending winner of the event that has had 10 different drivers visit Victory Lane the last 11 years it’s been held: Kyle Busch (2015), Carl Edwards (2014), Martin Truex Jr. (2013), Clint Bowyer (2012), Kurt Busch (2011), Jimmie Johnson (2010), Kasey Kahne (2009), Kyle Busch (2008), Juan Pablo Montoya (2007), Jeff Gordon (2006) and Tony Stewart (2005).

This season, 10 different drivers have taken the checkered flag through 15 races. All are virtually locked into to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The Chase Grid shapes up as follows: 1. Kyle Busch, 2. Brad Keselowski, 3. Carl Edwards, 4. Jimmie Johnson, 5. Kevin Harvick, 6. Kurt Busch, 7. Joey Logano, 8. Martin Truex Jr., 9. Matt Kenseth, 10. Denny Hamlin, 11. Chase Elliott (100 points above the cutoff), 12. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (+30), 13. Austin Dillon (+28), 14. Jamie McMurray (+21), 15. Ryan Newman (+16), 16. Ryan Blaney (+11).


Busch Returns To Site Where Dream Run Started

In Homestead’s Victory Lane, when Kyle Busch took his first sip of championship champagne, you could almost hear him say, “It’s so good. Once it hits your lips, it's so good.”

That championship march began at Sonoma.

A mere four months after breaking his right leg and fracturing his left foot last season, Kyle Busch visited Victory Lane at Sonoma Raceway to jumpstart his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship run.

Busch returns to the Northern California road course Sunday in much better shape. He leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with three victories, which give him a potential nine bonus points for the Round of 16 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Struggling lately, Busch has failed to finish better than 30th in his last four starts since winning at Kansas. Despite his rut, he still leads the series with nine top-five showings.

In 11 starts at Sonoma, Busch claims two wins, two top fives and three top 10s.


Road-Couse Wunderkind Allmendinger Attempts To Crash Chase With Sonoma Victory

AJ Allmendinger has a pretty nice, little Saturday planned. Now, he needs a good Sunday.

Last year, Allmendinger won the Coors Light Pole the Saturday before the Sonoma race. Unfortunately for the road-course ace, he finished 37th on Sunday.

The No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing driver is arguably the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ top road-course racer.

In 2014, Allmendinger crashed the Chase with his victory at Watkins Glen. He’ll attempt to do the same on Sunday.

Allmendinger won the Coors Light Pole Awards at both Sonoma and Watkins Glen last season, but suffered tough-luck finishes of 37th and 24th, respectively.

From nearby San Jose California, Allmendinger currently sits 19th on the Chase Grid, 27 points behind 16th-place Ryan Blaney.


Old School At Sonoma: Stewart Shoots For Third NorCal Victory, Chase Berth

Tony Stewart will try for his third career Sonoma win and first of the season as he continues his quest for a Chase berth in Sunday’s Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

In addition to his two victories, NASCAR’s elder statesman owns five top fives and nine top 10s in 17 career starts at Sonoma. Stewart also ranks third in average running position (11.9) and driver rating (98.1) at the 1.99-mile track.

Stewart is the active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leader in road-course wins with seven.

After missing the first eight races, Stewart must win a race and end NASCAR’s regular season in the top 30 in points to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Right now, Stewart sits 35th in points, 45 markers behind 30th-place Brian Scott.


You’re My Boy Blue (Deuce)

Oh, that’s the Blue Deuce, a fabled car that Brad Keselowski piloted to the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles. Don’t worry. Again this year, it’s legit.

Keselowski, still the driver of the No. 2 Ford, continues to perform at a high level for Team Penske in its 50th anniversary season. And now, he looks to capture a milestone victory. Penske’s next win will be the organization’s 100th.

Through 15 races, he ranks second on the Chase Grid on the strength of his two wins, six top fives and 10 top 10s.

Right now, Keselowski rides a streak of six consecutive top 10s – tied with Chase Elliott for the second longest current string in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The Michigan native’s run of three straight top fives leads the series.

Keselowski has just one top-10 finish in six starts at Sonoma (2011). He has been better at NASCAR’s other road course, Watkins Glen, where he claims three runner-ups and four top 10s in six starts. Overall, Keselowski owns three top fives and five top 10s in 12 starts at road courses.


Elliott Off To Banner Rookie Start
If you told someone at the beginning of the 2016 season that Chase Elliott would have a better rookie year than both Jimmie Johnson AND Dale Earnhardt, this would likely be the reply: “You’re crazy, man. I like you. But you’re crazy.”

Life’s good for 20-year-old Chase Elliott.

He’s produced a Sunoco Rookie season on par so far with a NASCAR immortal and one of its living legends. Elliott boasts 11 top 10s and six top fives through the first 15 races of his Sunoco Rookie season. In comparison, Johnson had 10 top 10s (2002) and Earnhardt (1979) possessed five top fives through the first 15 races of their Sunoco Rookie seasons.

The Dawsonville, Georgia native nearly registered his first win in each of his last two races, placing second at Michigan after leading 35 laps and finishing fourth at Pocono after pacing the field for 51 go-arounds.

Elliott leads Ryan Blaney in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 49 points.

The good vibes continue to pour in for Elliott. On Tuesday, he was named by SportsPro as one of the world’s 50 most marketable athletes for the second consecutive year. The criteria for the rankings includes earnings, age, home market, charisma, willingness to be marketed and crossover appeal.

Elliott will tune up for Sunday’s Toyota / Save Mart 350 by running in the Chevy’s Fresh Mex 200 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma on Saturday.


Home Cooking: Larson Looks To Stir Up Winning Recipe At Home Track

Kyle Larson looks due for his first career victory.

The No. 42 Chevrolet driver placed third in his last start at Michigan and second two starts before at Dover. Sprinkled between those results were a win in the third segment of the Sprint Showdown exhibition and a strong run in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race.

A native of Elk Grove, California, Larson will try to get his first win next at Sonoma Raceway – located 81 miles from his hometown.

Larson has qualified well at Sonoma in his first two appearances there with starts of third and fourth, but has not finished strongly, placing 28th in his track debut (2014) and 15th last season.


Earmuffs Jr. Fans
Earmuffs Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans.

If the No. 88 Chevrolet driver runs into bad luck like he did at Michigan, he might land on the Chase bubble.

At the moment, Earnhardt is the only driver who won a race last year, who has yet to visit Victory Lane this season.

Earnhardt looks like a safe bet to make the Chase right now, positioned 12th on the Grid, 30 points ahead of Kasey Kahne on the cutoff line. Still, another tough-luck finish like his 39th-place showing at Michigan, coupled with some surprise winners, could doom him.

Earnhardt has won at five of the 11 tracks leading into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup: Daytona, Pocono, Bristol, Michigan and Richmond. He is tied with Tony Stewart for the active wins lead at Daytona (4), the track that could be his ticket to NASCAR’s playoffs.


That’s How You Do It, That’s How You Race

Through 15 races, winners in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series have averaged a 1.028 margin of victory – the fourth-closest margin of victory through this point in the season since the advent of electronic scoring in 1993.

The current lower downforce rules package has helped generate close racing in 2016. Three races set track records for green flag passes for the lead (Atlanta, Auto Club, Bristol), while two races featured the seventh-closest margin of victory in series history (Daytona and Phoenix).


California? The Golden State? Gorgeous! – 9 Drivers Hail From The Sunny State

In recent years, California has served as developmental gold mine for NASCAR.

Nine drivers have been panned by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series out of the Golden State for Sunday’s Toyota / Save Mart 350: Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield), Casey Mears (Bakersfield), Josh Wise (Riverside), Kyle Larson (Elk Grove), AJ Allmendinger (San Jose), Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon), Matt DiBenedetto (Grass Valley), Dylan Lupton (Wilton) and Cole Whitt (Alpine).

Of the California drivers, Johnson boasts six series championships, while Harvick claims one. Johnson leads them in wins with 77, followed by Harvick with 32. Allmendinger and Mears each have one win.

Lupton, a NASCAR Next alumnus, will attempt to make his Sprint Cup debut in the No. 93 BK Racing Toyota on Sunday.


Bubblicious: Drivers Without Wins Hope Chase Aspirations Don’t Pop

With just six open Chase berths and 11 races remaining until NASCAR’s playoffs, drivers with a “0” in the wins column have to play the risky game of going all out for victory or maintaining a strong points position.

The winless drivers who would make the Chase on points today are Chase Elliott (100 points above the cutoff), Dale Earnhardt Jr (+30), Austin Dillon (+28), Jamie McMurray (+21), Ryan Newman (+16) and Ryan Blaney (+11).

Elliott and Blaney would become the second and third Sunoco Rookies to ever make NASCAR’s playoffs. Denny Hamlin earned a Chase berth in his first full-time season (2006). Third-year competitor Austin Dillon would also take the wheel for his first Chase.

The first driver on the outside of the Chase bubble looking in is Kasey Kahne, who lurks 11 points behind Ryan Blaney. Kahne is followed by Trevor Bayne (18th on the Chase Grid, 19 points below Blaney), AJ Allmendinger (19th, -27) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (20th, -27).


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, etc.

The Godfather To Grace Fans At Sonoma

Actor Luke Wilson will serve as the official pace car driver for the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. Best known for his comedic roles in “Old School,” “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and “Legally Blonde,” the Texan currently stars in Showtime’s new series “Roadies,” premiering on June 26. …

Patrick Nominated For 2016 Teen Choice Awards Choice Female Athlete
Danica Patrick has been nominated for Choice Female Athlete in the 2016 Teen Choice Awards. Fans can vote at teenchoice.com, using the FOX Now app, or by tweeting #ChoiceFemaleAthlete and @DanicaPatrick. Winners will be announced July 31 at 8 p.m. ET live on FOX. …

Carpentier Set To Make First NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Start Since 2011
Patrick Carpentier of Ville LaSalle, Quebec, Canada will make his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start since 2011 in the No. 32 GO FAS Racing Ford. A five-time winner in the CART Series, Carpentier’s last NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start came at Kansas where he finished 30th. His top career finish was an 11th-place showing at Sonoma in 2009. Carpentier won the Coors Light Pole at New Hampshire in 2008.

Stewart, Irvan To Be Inducted Into Sonoma Raceway Wall Of Fame
Tony Stewart and Ernie Irvan will join Sonoma Raceway’s Wall of Fame this weekend, joining fellow NASCAR figures, Rusty Wallace (2005), Mark Martin (2005), Jeff Gordon (2006), Ricky Rudd (2007) and Rick Hendrick (2010). Stewart and Irvan each won twice at Sonoma. Stewart will go for his third victory in his final race at the 1.99-mile track on Sunday. …

Save Mart Celebrates 25 Years With Sonoma Raceway
Save Mart Supermarkets celebrates its 25th year of sponsorship with Sonoma Raceway this weekend.

"Our partnership with the Sonoma Raceway has become part of Save Mart's culture. Save Mart, Lucky and FoodMaxx stores celebrate the Toyota / Save Mart 350 in the weeks leading up to the race, building a palpable momentum among our employees and in the communities we serve," said Nicole Pesco, co-president and chief strategy and branding officer. "What a great legacy this partnership has built."

- NASCAR

Kurt Busch favored this week for first time since 2006

Who are the top road courses aces now?
LAS VEGAS — After 15 Sprint Cup races with only left turns, we get to see a few right turns in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway's 1.99-mile, 12-turn road course. It's the ultimate test of a driver's skill set, and the elevation changes of Sonoma's unique course make it even more challenging than the average road course. Some drivers love the roads while others can't wait to leave town, and it's real easy to identify who those drivers are just by looking at past results.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened Kurt Busch as the 5-to-1 favorite to win, which makes it the first time he's been favored by Las Vegas in a Cup race since 2006 at Bristol after he had won for the fifth time on the half-mile track. The Las Vegas native is well deserving of being tagged the favorite.

Let's take a look at all the drivers odds and how they have fared at Sonoma over their careers:

Kurt BUSCH 5/1 - With Jeff Gordon retired, Juan Montoya in IndyCar, Marcos Ambrose in Australia and Tony Stewart on the down side of his career, Kurt has taken over as the ace road course driver in the series. He tops NASCAR Loop Data with a 109.3 rating at Sonoma that takes into account several categories such average running position, average green flag speed and laps running in the top-15 — Kurt is best in all of those. His 197 laps led and seven top-five finishes are the most among active drivers. He's on a run of finishing fourth or better in his past five starts there, which began with a 2011 win. He loves the road races, especially Sonoma's technical course.

“Sonoma has always been a sentimental favorite to me — I think that track helped put me on the map when I won there in a Southwest Tour race in 1999," Kurt said. "The garage area sometimes grumbles when we go to road courses. I think that mentality has changed. Everybody has to accept that road courses are part of the NASCAR culture. There are the few who still think Sonoma is a tough track and they don’t find it quite as appealing as Watkins Glen. For me, I grew up racing there, so it’s easy for me to see it as part of the NASCAR culture.”

Jimmie JOHNSON 7/1 - There was once a time when you could get him at odds of 30-to-1 on the road courses. They were tough on him and he struggled to match his excellence from the ovals. But over the past seven seasons he's become very good at Sonoma, finishing ninth or better, including a 2010 win. In NASCAR's Loop Data, he's rated second behind Kurt Busch.

“Sonoma is so tricky," said Johnson, who led the most laps (45) in last years race. "Track position is so, so important there. It’s a quirky race and the last two times there we have been one of the better cars but just haven't had it work out, so I’m optimistic that we can get everything right over the course of the event. If you can save fuel it usually creates more opportunities. Last year it came down to tires and I was the only guy on old tires and it cost us the race. As a California native, I’m always happy to get back there."

Read More Here.....all the drivers odds posted on TheLinemakers.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Kurt Busch using same road course chassis from 2015

Kurt Busch is 6/1 favorite to win at Sonoma.
Chassis No. 942: 
Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 942 in Sunday’s Save Mart 350k at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Built new for 2015, Chassis 942 debuted last June at Sonoma, when Busch started second and led 43 laps en route to a second-place finish. It was last raced in August 2015 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, where Busch overcame a pit-road penalty to finish fifth. 

Sonoma Raceway Notes of Interest: 
 Kurt Busch has career totals of 28 wins, 21 poles, 121 top-five finishes and 235 top-10s in 555 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s Save Mart 350k at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. His most recent Sprint Cup win came June 6 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. 
 The Save Mart 350k will mark Busch’s 16th career Sprint Cup start at Sonoma. Busch has one win, one pole, seven top-five finishes and seven top-10s at the 1.99-mile road course. Additionally, the 37-year-old driver has led 197 laps, has an average starting position of 9.2, an average finish of 14.8, and has completed 99 percent (1,642 of 1,659) of the laps he’s contested there. 
 Previous Winner – Busch started 11th in the 2011 Sonoma race and took the lead for the first time on lap 13, where he stayed for the next 19 circuits around the 1.99-mile road course. He relinquished the lead twice for green-flag pit stops but took over the top spot for the final time on lap 88. He would lead the final 23 laps for a total of 76 laps led en route to the victory – his first Sprint Cup win on a road course.
 The Las Vegas native has one pole to his credit (June 2006) at Sonoma. Busch has 21 career Sprint Cup poles. 
 Road-Course Averages – In his 30 Sprint Cup Series starts at road-course facilities – Sonoma and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International – Busch has accumulated one win, 10 top-five finishes and 14 top-10s. He has led 259 laps in those races and has completed 2,892 of 3,013 possible laps. 
 Thus Far in 2016 … Busch has accumulated one win, two poles, five top-five finishes and a series-leading 13 top-10s in 15 starts. Busch is also the only driver to have completed every lap this season. 
 Get to the Points – With his 10th-place finish two weeks ago in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Busch enters Sonoma second in the Sprint Cup driver standings. 
 SHR at Sonoma – In 19 overall starts at Sonoma, SHR-prepared Chevrolets have earned four top-five finishes and five top-10s, have been atop the leaderboard for 82 laps, and have completed 99 percent of the laps contested (2,078 of 2,100). 
 SHR in 2016 – 15 races into the 2016 season, SHR’s four Sprint Cup entries have recorded two wins, two poles, 12 top-five finishes and 28 top-10s. SHR Chevrolets have completed 18,369 of 18,656 laps contested and collectively have led 935 laps

Kurt Busch favored to win at Sonoma in Las Vegas for good reason
While Busch would not consider himself a road-racing ace, he has developed a solid skill set for the tracks that feature both left- and right-hand turns. Busch is hoping to add to his already impressive Sonoma resume by scoring his second win of the season in this weekend’s 110-lap event.

Having already found victory lane in 2016 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway earlier this month, winning this weekend at Sonoma would show the depth of the team and its ability to win at a variety of racetracks. Busch and the Monster Energy/Haas Automation team have little to worry about in terms of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

They can head to Sonoma feeling less pressure and welcome the opportunity to race aggressively for additional wins. The 28-time Sprint Cup race winner will look to earn additional points for the postseason as the 16 drivers who qualify for the Chase will have their points total reset to 2,000 and will be seeded based on bonus points – three per win – earned prior to the start of the Chase. 

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Talk about racing at Sonoma. 
“Sonoma will be fun this year. A new tire, lower downforce, we are already sliding around out there a ton. This will definitely challenge the teams to build a quality car that all the fat has to be trimmed off. You are trying to run it as light weight as possible to not chew up the tires. It will be a tough race this year. I’m really looking forward to seeing how that one plays out. I’ll be headed there after the off week, which I spent enjoying some time in the Middle East with Haas F1.” 
What is the first thing that comes to mind when people talk about racing at Sonoma? 
“Sonoma has always been a sentimental favorite to me – I think that track helped put me on the map when I won there in a Southwest Tour race in 1999. The garage area sometimes grumbles when we go to road courses. I think that mentality has changed. Everybody has to accept that road courses are part of the NASCAR culture. There are the few who still think Sonoma is a tough track and they don’t find it quite as appealing as Watkins Glen. For me, I grew up racing there, so it’s easy for me to see it as part of the NASCAR culture.” 
How did you learn to drive on a road course? 
“It might sound odd, but I learned to road-course race by driving a Legends car. That was big in the mid-’90s in the Desert Southwest and they would let us run on the infield road course at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as well as the exterior road course there. We also raced road-course races at Buttonwillow, they had a street-course race at Los Angeles, and they raced up in Sonoma. I was just kind of thrown into the fire with road-course racing, but I loved it from the first time I jumped on track.” What do you like about road-course racing? “I just like the rhythm. I like how you use one corner to help you in the next corner. You have to be thinking three corners ahead, sometimes. Plus, it’s a compromise on the setup. You’re never going to be perfect on all the corners, so you have to shoot for the middle in all of them.”

- True Speed Communications


Sonoma Raceway Data

Season Race #: 16 of 36 (06-28-15)
TV: FS1 at 3 p.m. ET
Track Size: 1.99-miles
Number of Turns: 12
Race Length: 110 laps / 219 miles / 350 Kilometers

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Sonoma
Kurt Busch................................ 109.3
Jimmie Johnson........................ 101.0
Tony Stewart.............................. 98.1
Clint Bowyer............................... 96.7
Ryan Newman............................ 88.5
Kyle Busch................................. 88.3
Carl Edwards.............................. 88.3
Jamie McMurray......................... 87.1
Kevin Harvick.............................. 86.9
Kasey Kahne.............................. 86.7
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2015 races (11 total) among active drivers at Sonoma Raceway.

Qualifying/Race Data

2015 pole winner:
AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet
96.310 mph, 74.385 secs. 06-27-15

2015 race winner:
Kyle Busch, Toyota
74.774 mph, (02:55:39), 06-28-15

Track qualifying record:

Kyle Larson, Chevrolet
96.568 mph, 74.186 secs. 06-27-15

Track race record:

Clint Bowyer, Toyota
83.624 mph, (02:39:55), 06-24-12

Danica Patrick has 23.8 average finish between three Sonoma starts

Danica Patrick is 300/1 to win at Sonoma this weekend.
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (June 21, 2016) – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams travel to Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway this week following just the second off weekend since the 2016 season began at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February. After several subpar finishes, the break couldn’t have come at a better time for Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS team.

Patrick finished outside of the top-20 in the three races leading up to the off weekend. She ended up 21st at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May. An accident relegated her to a 32nd-place finish when the series visited Pocono (Pa.) Raceway earlier this month. And, two weeks ago, Patrick finished 21st at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

Rested and refreshed after a weekend off, Patrick and the team head to Sonoma, one of two road courses on the Sprint Cup schedule. She has 10 races under her belt at the track dating back to 2005. However, seven of those starts came in the IndyCar Series and unfortunately won’t offer much assistance to Patrick as she competes in Sunday’s Save Mart 350k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.

The IndyCar Series utilized two different Sonoma road-course layouts during the seven years Patrick competed there and neither is identical to the 1.99-mile, 10-turn configuration she will drive on Sunday.

Patrick’s top Sprint Cup result at the track is an 18th-place finish she scored in 2014. Last year, her hopes of earning another top-20 effort at the track were dashed when late-race contact forced Patrick off course and left her with a 24th-place finish.

At Sonoma this weekend, Patrick is hoping to run a smooth and clean race, remain on course and get back to running in the top-20 with the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS team.

DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:

What is the key to racing at Sonoma?

“I think, at Sonoma, you have to get through the high-speed esses comfortably, which leads to a good high-speed balance. Power down is also important there because it is easy for the rear tires to just spin all the time. The fast lap times come from the high-speed balance, so that is the key for me and the Nature’s Bakery team.”

What is the hardest part about road racing?

“The hardest part of road racing is just putting a whole lap together. The hardest part of road racing is just nailing every corner and doing it consistently when it counts.”

What about the road courses do you enjoy?

“I’m very used to racing on road courses. That’s how I grew up in go-karting. It’s what I did in Europe when I raced and it’s what IndyCar Racing really became before I left. There were three IndyCar road-course races when I started and, by the end, the majority of the races were on road courses – I think it was eight or nine races. So I’m super familiar and super comfortable on road courses, but jumping into a stock car on a road course does feel a lot different than a lot of the other cars I’ve driven before on a road course. It still makes for great races because the braking zones are longer in stock cars, which allows more opportunities for passing.”

How would you assess your team’s progression so far this season?
“I feel like in racing sometimes you make progress by trying things that don’t work and sometimes you make progress, of course, by doing things that do work. I feel like this year as a team we’ve tried things and some stuff has worked and some stuff for sure hasn’t, but it’s not from a lack of trying, that’s for sure. It’s about finding the things that move the needle and it’s not an easy task and that’s why you see incredibly talented and smart teams with great funding and all of the resources possible have a bit of an ebb and flow to their performance over the years. It’s not an easy job. I feel like we’re in a position right now where we need to dig deep and we need to find a few things that help move our program forward.”

- True Speed Communication for Stewart-Haas Racing

Ryan Newman fourth-best at Sonoma with 12.6 average finish

Ryan Newman is 30/1 to win at Sonoma for first time in 14 starts. 
This Week’s WIX Filters Chevrolet SS at Sonoma Raceway … Ryan Newman will pilot car No. 477 in the season’s first road course event at Sonoma Raceway. The Sonoma 350 marks the first time this year that the No. 31 team will utilize this Chevrolet in competition.

Newman at Sonoma … In 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course, Newman owns two top-five and six top-10 finishes. He has led 11 laps and completed all 1,547 laps of competition. The South Bend, Ind., native has an average start of 12.4 and average finish of 12.6. In the last 10 races at the road course, the Richard Childress Racing driver ranks sixth in most points earned.

WIX Filters … WIX Filters provides technical support for both RCR and ECR Engines by supplying air and oil filters as well as providing research and development support. RCR’s relationship with WIX Filters started back in the late 1960s and in 2011 at Bristol Motor Speedway, the No. 1 filter in motorsports began its association with Ryan Newman.

Since 1939, WIX® Filters has been an innovator in filtration products. WIX designs, manufactures and distributes products for automotive, diesel, agricultural, industrial and specialty filter markets. Its product line includes oil, air, cabin interior, fuel, coolant, transmission and hydraulic filters for automobiles, trucks, off-road equipment and manufacturing applications. For more information, visit www.wixfilters.com, or any of their social channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

RYAN NEWMAN QUOTES:

What is the key to success at Sonoma Raceway?

“It’s usually all about forward drive and then braking and then strategy. Obviously having good track position is key as well because it is difficult to pass there. Forward drive seems to be the premium and it seems like getting off of what I call, Turns 6 and 11 are the most important parts of the track and just having a good launch and keeping the rear tires under you are keys to running a good lap. It seems like you can so easily abuse the rear tires and make the car loose for the rest of the track. If that happens then you can’t go forward.”

What’s the toughest part of the track for you to figure out?

“It seems like every time we go there, it’s a different tire or something is a little bit different and you have to find the balance in strategy … do you pit twice and stay out, max out your windows and stay out on old tires or do you come in and get new tires? In my opinion, it’s the strategy part that is the toughest to figure out. Driving the car there isn’t that difficult except for keeping the rear tires on it. That’s difficult to do, but I think what’s most difficult is figuring out the right strategy.”

What is your favorite part about that track?

“I just like driving the car at road courses. They are fun to hustle around. You are using the brake pedal and it lends itself to better racing.”

- Richard Childress Racing


Top 10 Driver Ratings at Sonoma
Kurt Busch................................ 109.3
Jimmie Johnson........................ 101.0
Tony Stewart.............................. 98.1
Clint Bowyer............................... 96.7
Ryan Newman............................ 88.5
Kyle Busch................................. 88.3
Carl Edwards.............................. 88.3
Jamie McMurray......................... 87.1
Kevin Harvick.............................. 86.9
Kasey Kahne.............................. 86.7
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2015 races (11 total) among active drivers at Sonoma Raceway.

Sonoma is Dale Earnhardt Jr's "most challenging track"

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 18/1 to win his first race at Sonoma.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the off weekend and his Chase outlook:
“(No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives) and the guys are working their guts out. They’re a great team full of good guys, and they deserve a ton of respect. They’re giving it everything they’ve got. I needed an off weekend to have some fun and get my battery recharged for the rest of the year. This break couldn’t have come at a better time … and will hopefully give us a chance to reset and come back with a good attitude, get some points back and get some good finishes back in the bank. Richmond’s going to be here before we know it and we don’t want to be sitting there at Richmond having to finish in a certain spot to make the Chase. I have confidence things are going to work out. We’ve definitely got some season left to get things righted. We’ve got a good team with good speed in our car.”

Earnhardt on racing at Sonoma:

“We used to test really hard to figure out how to get better at road courses. Now we just show up and race, and that’s really been refreshing … and it’s made the race weekends a lot more enjoyable. We’ve had great race cars at the road courses – we’ve gotten better as a company, which has helped me a lot and helped carry me. Sonoma is the most challenging track that I race at. We’ve just got to take care of our car and make it through to the end.”

HEADING IN THE 'RIGHT' DIRECTION: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has mentioned time and again that he is not as confident on road courses as he is on ovals that make up the bread-and-butter of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. But the 41-year-old veteran has stepped up his game when it comes to tackling both left- and right-hand turns. In his first 14 starts at Sonoma Raceway, he never finished inside the top 10, although he did have six top-15 finishes. However, in his most recent two starts at the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course, the driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS has earned two top-10 results, finishing third in 2014 and seventh in last summer’s event. Earnhardt’s best start at Sonoma came in 2007, when he qualified third, and he has finished on the lead lap in 13 of 16 races.

MAKING PASSES: Earnhardt is scored near the top of the board in making passes at the California road course according to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, which cover active drivers in events from 2005 to the present. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native ranks second in the green-flag passes category with 643 and he’s 10th on the quality passes list with 188. Earnhardt is also 12th in average speed early in a run (90.415 mph), 13th in average speed late in a run (89.105 mph) and 13th in fastest laps run (22 laps).

AXALTA/U-M UNVEIL: On June 13, Axalta Coating Systems celebrated its second consecutive General Motors Supplier of the Year Award at Axalta’s Mount Clemens, Michigan, research and manufacturing facility. During the celebration, representatives from Axalta and the University of Michigan (U-M) unveiled the joint paint scheme that Earnhardt will race on Aug. 28 at Michigan International Speedway. Axalta and U-M recently entered into an educational partnership to support engineering and business students. Axalta will host 50 U-M business and engineering students at Michigan International Speedway to help them better understand the technology and performance that goes into racing and Axalta’s coatings that shine on the car. Click here for photos of the No. 88 Axalta/University of Michigan Chevrolet SS.

OFF-WEEK ADVENTURE: Earnhardt and his fiancée, Amy Reimann, made a return trip to Germany during the off week to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their engagement. The couple enjoyed German food and beverages as they toured various sites during the week-long trip. For highlights of their trip, visit the photo gallery here.

NATIONWIDE SMALL BUSINESS PROMOTION: Earlier in June, Nationwide launched a social media sweepstakes encouraging small-business owners to enter for a chance to have the name of their company featured on the TV panel of Earnhardt’s No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS during the Sept. 25 race weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. As the No. 1 small-business insurer in the country, Nationwide remains the carrier of choice for more than 500,000 small-business clients — including Earnhardt. The winner and a guest will also receive a VIP experience to the race that includes flights, lodging and a personal meeting with Earnhardt. To participate in the contest, small-business owners, employees and fans can nominate their “Boss Man” by uploading a picture of him or her doing their best “Water Cooler Dale” impression at www.watercoolerdalejr.com. The campaign runs through June 30.


 

2016 Season

  • 11th in standings
  • 15 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 53 laps led
 
 

Career

  • 592 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 13 pole positions
  • 148 top-five finishes
  • 252 top-10 finishes
  • 8,187 laps led
 
 

Track Career 

  • 16 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 9 laps led
 


- Hendrick Motorsports

NOTE: Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. lead the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Sonoma without visiting Victory Lane at 16 each.

Jimmie Johnson ninth or better in past seven Sonoma starts

Jimmie Johnson is 7/1 to win at Sonoma this weekend.
Jimmie Johnson on racing at Sonoma:
“Sonoma is so tricky. Track position is so, so important there. It’s a quirky race and the last two times there we have been one of the better cars but just haven't had it work out, so I’m optimistic that we can get everything right over the course of the event. If you can save fuel it usually creates more opportunities. Last year it came down to tires and I was the only guy on old tires and it cost us the race. As a California native, I’m always happy to get back there.”

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday at 11 a.m. local time in the media center at Sonoma Raceway.

ONE WIN IN SONOMA: Jimmie Johnson has been able to sip wine in Victory Lane one time over the course of his career. His only win at the 1.99-mile road course came on June 20, 2010, when he led 55 laps en route to the win.

SONOMA DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Johnson has the second-best driver rating at Sonoma with a score of 101.0 during the past 10 years at the track. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.

CALIFORNIA CREW MEMBER: Race engineer Julian Pena hails from Aliso Viejo, California, and graduated from Stanford University with a degree in mechanical engineering.

CHICAGO TICKET PACKAGE: Fans can purchase a Jimmie Johnson Family Ticket Package for this year's race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18. Johnson has teamed up with NASA to provide an educational experience for kids with the NASA Rockets 2 Racecars STEM Education program. The ticket package includes a Q&A session with Johnson on race day. The package is $48 for adults and $23 for children and is located in Section "L" at Chicagoland Speedway. Click here for details.

KENTUCKY TICKET PACKAGE: Johnson is teaming up with Kentucky Speedway and NASA once again for a family ticket package experience for the July 9 event at the track. Click here for information:http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com/jimmiejohnson/

2016 Season

  • 7th in standings
  • 15 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 7 top-10 finishes
  • 228 laps led

Career

  • 522 starts
  • 77 wins
  • 34 pole positions
  • 213 top-five finishes
  • 321 top-10 finishes
  • 17,937 laps led

Track Career 

  • 14 starts
  • 1 win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 4 top-five finishes
  • 9 top-10 finishes
  • 131 laps led


Top 10 driver ratings at Sonoma:
#41-Kurt Busch 109.3
#48-Jimmie Johnson 101.0
#14-Tony Stewart 98.1
#15-Clint Bowyer 96.7
#31-Ryan Newman 88.5
#18-Kyle Busch 88.3
#19-Carl Edwards 88.3
#1-Jamie McMurray 87.1
#4-Kevin Harvick 86.9
#5-Kasey Kahne 86.7


Sonoma Raceway one of Kasey Kahne's favorite tracks

Kasey Kahne is 30/1 to win at Sonoma for second time.
Kasey Kahne on racing at Sonoma:

“It’s a great track and in a great part of the country. My first couple of trips there were tough for me to figure out the track. Once I got it figured out we were much better and got a win. It’s one of my favorite tracks to go to.”

SONOMA STATS: Sonoma Raceway is the first of two stops this season at a road course for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In Kasey Kahne’s 12 starts at the 10-turn track, he’s earned the pole position twice – 2008 and 2010. Kahne won in only his sixth event at the 1.99-mile track after starting from the fifth position and leading 37 laps. He took the 2006 checkered flag with a 0.748-second margin of victory over competitor Tony Stewart. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has three top-10 finishes in his last three starts at Sonoma.

SONOMA LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data, Kahne ranks third in quality passes with 279 and sixth in green-flag passes with 617. He’s seventh-fastest on restarts with an average speed of 86.939 mph, and ninth in laps led among active drivers with 41.

SHARK WEEK CHEVY: For the fourth year in a row, Kahne will pilot a Shark Week paint scheme. Not only is Kahne racing his competitors on the track, he’s also racing a shark in Discovery’s #GreatSharkRace. In preparation for Discovery’s Shark Week, which kicks off on Sunday, June 26, at 8 p.m. ET on Discovery Channel, Kahne went shark tagging off of the coast of Miami with the University of Miami and Oceana.

GOING HOME: Mechanic Charley McDonell is the only California native on the No. 5 Great Clips team. He hails from Cottonwood, California, which is located approximately three hours north of Sonoma Raceway.

DAYTONA SCHEME: Kahne’s No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS will have a different look at Daytona International Speedway. Great Clips teamed up with Strong Against Cancer to encourage patients at the Seattle Children’s Hospital to use their imaginations to design Kahne’s paint scheme for the upcoming July 2 race. Kahne personally narrowed the drawings down to his favorite four, leaving the final choice up to the fans. Eight-year-old Noelia from White Center, Washington, received the most votes. Her design was inspired by jaguars, music and the Seattle skyline.

THE DRIVE: For the third year, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Kahne have selected the Strong Against Cancer initiative to be the beneficiary of The DRIVE, a private charity concert, auction and celebrity-amateur golf event scheduled for June 27-28 in Cle Elum, Washington, at the Suncadia Resort. Fans are encouraged to join Wilson and Kahne to support Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Strong Against Cancer initiative. To donate, please visithttp://wilsonkahnedrive.org/beneficiary. Their goal is to raise awareness and valuable funds for research that supports immunotherapy -- a medical treatment that harnesses the power of a child’s immune cells to fight cancer. If you are interested in covering the event, please contact Lauren Emling.


2016 Season

  • 17th in standings
  • 15 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 5 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led

Career

  • 447 starts
  • 17 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 88 top-five finishes
  • 161 top-10 finishes
  • 4,607 laps led

Track Career 

  • 12 starts
  • 1 win
  • 2 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 5 top-10 finishes
  • 41 laps led



- Hendrick Motorsports

Top 10 driver ratings at Sonoma:
#41-Kurt Busch 109.3
#48-Jimmie Johnson 101.0
#14-Tony Stewart 98.1
#15-Clint Bowyer 96.7
#31-Ryan Newman 88.5
#18-Kyle Busch 88.3
#19-Carl Edwards 88.3
#1-Jamie McMurray 87.1
#4-Kevin Harvick 86.9
#5-Kasey Kahne 86.7

Sonoma Betting Preview: 2016 Toyota/Save Mart 350

Some left and right turns this week with a glass of fine Sonoma wine.
Gentlemen, and lady, start your damn engines, like now. Hurry! I missed you guys.

It's only been two weeks since the Sprint Cup Series last raced, but I almost have this need to see a race like I do each year before Daytona speedweeks starts when I've been waiting over two months for some action.

So far, we've seen races on all types of tracks through the first 15 races, but the summer season of NASCAR brings us the two road circuits where we'll see drivers make both right and left turns. The first weekend of August will take us to Watkins Glen International, but my favorite without a doubt is Sonoma just because it's a more technical course with elevation changes. This course separates the roundy-round drivers from the truly skilled drivers. It's also got a nice back drop with the beautiful wine country in Napa and Sonoma Valley.

Some drivers hate the road courses and they're real easy to locate just by looking at past history. Matt Kenseth is one of them and his odds reflect it at 50-to-1. He doesn't have any top-fives in 16 starts and has a 22nd-place average finish.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has only one top-five finish in 16 Sonoma starts with a 19.4 average finish and Denny Hamlin has just one top-five in 10 starts (22.7 avg.). Those are drivers considered to be good candidates to win weekly on all other tracks, but on the roads you throw them out of any betting or fantasy equation.

The drivers you want to key on this week are the ones who excel over and over again on the roads, and specifically Sonoma. The two road courses are radically different with Watkins Glen being much faster with longer straights and sweeping turns. Entering and exiting the turns fastest at Sonoma takes special skills and there are a few who consistently do it well.

Read More Here......Top-5 Finish Prediction on VegasInsider.com

Matt Kenseth only one top-10 in 16 Sonoma starts

Matt Kenseth is 50/1 to win at Sonoma.
Matt Kenseth / No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Preview
Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway

No. 20 Dollar General Toyota News and Notes:

KENSETH BY THE NUMBERS:In 16 Sprint Cup Series career starts at Sonoma Raceway, Matt Kenseth has an average starting position of 17.2, an average finish of 22.1, and has completed 1,712 of 1,771 (96.7 percent) career laps at the 1.99-mile road course and has earned one top-10 finish (eighth in 2008).

JOE GIBBS RACING AT SONOMA: Joe Gibbs Racing has 53 Sprint Cup Series starts at Sonoma Raceway and has earned four wins, 8 top-five, and 17 top-ten finishes. The organization has led for a total of 224 laps, has an average start of 15.9, an average finish of 18.0, and completed 5,478 of 5,649 (97.0 percent) laps.

DOLLAR GENERAL PARTNER SUPPORT: Dollar General would like to thank vendor partners Airwick, AmeriGas, Arm & Hammer, Cottonelle, Gildan, Glad, Hellmann’s, Huggies, Kleenex, Lipton, Lysol, Maxwell House, Mucinex, Nestle Drumstick, Nicorette, Oreo, OxiClean, Pepsi, Scott, Slim Jim, Spinbrush, STP, Suave, TUMS, Viva and Xtra for their support of the DG Racing program.
RACE INFO: The Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway (1.99-mile) begins at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 26th. The race will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1, Sirius XM Channel 90 and PRN Radio.

Kenseth’s 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5Top 10PolesLaps LedAvg. StartAvg. Finish
1512604299.514.7
Kenseth’s Career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5Top 10PolesLaps LedAvg. StartAvg. Finish
593371652961710,81117.614.1

From the Cockpit:
Matt Kenseth
: “Everyone likes to compare Sonoma and Watkins Glen since they’re the only two road courses that we run in a year, but they couldn’t be any more different from each other. Sonoma has always been a challenge for me because it’s very slow and technical where it’s hard to pass at. Road courses lately, with the restarts being two-wide, has become some of the most aggressive racing that we do all year. Sonoma is one of my most challenging tracks on the circuit as far as finishes and stats go, but I always look to go out there and improve every race. I’ve qualified well a bunch of times, but I’ve just never been able to figure out how to put an entire race together at Sonoma. It’s a beautiful part of the country though, and I enjoy going there, but I just need to continue to work on giving my team the feedback they need throughout the weekend.”

From the Pit Box:
Jason Ratcliff:
“The challenge about Sonoma involves quite a few things in order to put together a successful day. Pit strategy is important because it is tough to pass at Sonoma. There are just so many variables that come into play, and very seldom do we see the guy who runs up front all day win the race because someone hit the strategy right or the cautions fell right. For us on the 20 team, they just haven’t lately even though we’ve qualified pretty well with Matt (Kenseth) out there over the last few years. A lot of times we’ll get to the halfway point of the race where I feel like things are going the way they need to for us, and then we get caught by a caution, or something along those lines. When you race at Sonoma, the toughest thing is just sticking to your plan. Sometimes the cautions may fall your way, and sometimes they may not, but we’ll come up with our game plan and stick with that regardless of what happens.”

No. 20 Dollar General Toyota / Joe Gibbs Racing Team:
Driver – Matt Kenseth Crew Chief – Jason Ratcliff Car Chief – Jeff Meendering
Engineer – Levi Porter Engineer – Mike Lorusso Shock Specialist –Scott Myers
Mechanic – Chris Sherwood Mechanic – Jason Overstreet Mechanic – Alan Buzze
Engine Tuner – Greg Wilson Tire Specialist – Jerold Shires Spotter – Chris Osborne
Jackman – Jason Tate Gasman – John Eicher Front Tire Changer – John Royer
Front Tire Carrier – Joe Crossen Rear Tire Carrier – Blake Haugland Rear Tire Changer – Adam Hartman
Pit Support – Bill Byrne Pit Support – Jon Williams Pit Support – Alan Copley
Truck Drivers – Tom McCrimmon & Chris Miko

About Dollar General:
Dollar General Corporation has been delivering value to shoppers for over 75 years through its mission ofServing Others. Dollar General helps shoppers Save time. Save money. Every day!® by offering products that are frequently used and replenished, such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, basic apparel, housewares and seasonal items at low everyday prices in convenient neighborhood locations. With 12,719 stores in 43 states as of April 29, 2016, Dollar General is among the largest discount retailers in the United States. In addition to high quality private brands, Dollar General sells products from America’s most-trusted manufacturers such as Clorox, Energizer, Procter & Gamble, Hanes, Coca-Cola, Mars, Unilever, Nestle, Kimberly-Clark, Kellogg’s, General Mills, and PepsiCo. For more information on Dollar General, please visit www.dollargeneral.com.

- Joe Gibbs Racing