Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sonoma Driver Chassis Selections: 2014 Toyota/Save Mart 350

4 wins in 5 races? Johnson is using 2013 Watkins Glen chassis this week

#2-Brad Keselowski: Primary Chassis for Sonoma is PRS-901, which last raced at Martinsville and finished 38th. The Backup Chassis is PRS-853 which was last used as a backup at Dover.

#3-Austin Dillon: will pilot Chassis No. 469 in the Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. This is the first time that Dillon will race this Dow Powerhouse Solar Chevrolet this season. Dillon has never competed at the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course and has never competed in a road course race on the Sprint Cup Series circuit. However, the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion has six road course races to his credit in the Nationwide Series, earning two top-10 finishes, including a career-high ninth at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2012 and 10th at Road America in 2013.

#4-Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 873 in Sunday's race at Sonoma - a new chassis from the SHR shop. Harvick and the team tested the car last month at Virginia International Raceway, a road-course facility located in Alton, VA. Harvick has 13 prior NSCS starts at Sonoma. During that span, he has earned three top fives and five top-10 finishes and has an average start of 16.3 and an average finish of 15.6.

#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-876 for Sunday's race at Sonoma. This is a brand new chassis that has never been raced before. In 10 Sprint Cup starts at Sonoma, Kahne has one win, two top-five finishes, three top-10s and has completed 98.2 percent of all laps attempted at the track (1,087 of 1,107 total). The driver of the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS has started in the top 10 six times in his last eight races at the 1.99-mile road course, including two pole positions in 2008 and 2010. Kahne visited Sonoma's Victory Lane in June 2009, when he started from the fifth position and led 37 laps en route to his sole career victory at the California track.

#10-Danica Patrick will pilot Chassis No. 10-759 which was first used by Patrick in June 2013 at Sonoma Raceway, where she started 31st and finished 29th. It was then used in August at Watkins Glen, where she started 35th and finished 20th.

#12-Ryan Blaney: Primary Chassis for Michigan is PRS-919, which is a new chassis.

#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-874 is a brand-new racecar. However, it was tested May 27 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, in preparation for this weekend's event at Sonoma. Stewart has a pole, two wins, three second-place finishes, five top-fives, nine top-10s and has led a total of 82 laps in his 15 career Sprint Cup starts at Sonoma. His average start at the 1.99-mile, 10-turn road course is 11.1, his average finish is 12.0 and he has a lap completion rate of 98.7 percent.

#15-Clint Bowyer: Chassis No. 767 serves as the primary chassis for Bowyer at Sonoma Raceway. He raced it to a fifth-place finish at Sonoma and a sixth-place finish at Watkins Glen in 2013. Chassis No. 770 serves as the back-up chassis and hasn't been raced. Since February 2012 Clint Bowyer owns the best average finish among NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers at road courses (4.0) as well as the best average finish at Sonoma (3.0). Bowyer holds the second-best average finish among drivers, 9.1, to Jeff Gordon's 8.2.

#16-Greg Biffle: and the Matt Puccia led #16 3M team will run chassis RK-916 which is a brand new chassis. The backup chassis RK-764 has been with the team for a few years, first hitting the track in 2011. Biffle has 11 Sprint Cup career starts at Sonoma, earning two top-five and five top-10 finishes. His average finish at Sonoma is 14.3 from an average starting position of 15.3. Biffle has finished on the lead lap in all but one start at Sonoma, and that was his very first start back in 2003.

#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: and the #17 Ecopower Re-Refined Oil Ford Fusion team will be using primary chassis RK- 919 at Sonoma, which is a brand new chassis. The backup chassis is RK- 758 which was the back-up chassis for road course races in 2013. Last year despite never running a single lap at the 1.99-mile 11-turn road course, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. fought his way to a 27th-place finish in Sunday's Save-mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. Stenhouse Jr. will have extra seat time this weekend as he will be running the #99 machine in the K&N West race.

#22-Joey Logano: Primary Chassis is PRS-902 for Sonoma, which last raced at Martinsville and finished 4th. The Backup Chassis is PRS-858 which was last used as a backup at Dover.

#24-Jeff Gordon: crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-878 for this Sunday's race. This is a new chassis that has not been raced. The native of Vallejo, California, tops the following statistical categories at the serpentine track: wins (five), poles (five), top-five finishes (13), top-10s (17), laps led (454) and average finish (8.2). Gordon is the all-time leader in NASCAR road course victories with nine. Along with five wins at Sonoma, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has visited Victory Lane four times at Watkins Glen International in New York.

#27-Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 470 in the 218.9-mile event at Sonoma Raceway. This #27 Richmond / Menards Chevrolet SS is a new addition to the Richard Childress Racing stable in 2014. Menard has six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Sonoma Raceway. His best start of third came in 2011 and best finish of 14th came in 2013. The Wisconsin native has completed 666 of 667 laps attempted (99.9 percent).

#31-Ryan Newman will drive chassis No. 471 on Sunday at Sonoma Raceway. Chassis No. 471 is brand new and will take to the track during Friday's two scheduled practice sessions. In 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course, Newman owns two top-five and five top-10 finishes. He has led 11 laps and completed all 1,327 laps of competition. The South Bend, Ind., native has an average start of 13th and average finish of 13th. In the last six races at the road course, the RCR driver ranks fifth in most points earned.

#41-Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 661 in Sunday's SaveMart 350k at Sonoma Raceway. Chassis No. 661 served as a backup chassis at both Sonoma and Watkins Glen in 2013 as a #39 Chevrolet driven by former SHR driver Ryan Newman.

#48-Jimmie Johnson: Crew chief Chad Knaus has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 48-875, which is a brand new car. The backup car is Chassis No. 48-801, which Johnson most recently raced in last season at Watkins Glen International. In 12 starts at Sonoma, Johnson has one win, four top-five finishes and seven top-10s. The driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet SS has led 85 circuits around the 1.99-mile track.

#55-Brian Vickers: Primary 772 never raced but Vickers tested this car at Sonoma on March 25 & 26. Backup 771 never raced.

#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-747. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis at Watkins Glen International in August 2013. In 14 Sprint Cup starts at Sonoma Raceway, Earnhardt has posted six top-15 finishes and completed 94.3 percent of all the laps he's attempted (1,463 laps of 1,551 total). He has scored a career-best 11th-place finish three times at the 1.99-mile road course and last recorded this result in 2010. Earnhardt most recently rallied from a 26th starting position to finish 12th at the California track in June 2013.

#95-Michael McDowell: will drive Chassis No. PRS-834 in the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. This Ford Fusion is new to the Wally Rogers-led team.

#99-Carl Edwards the #99 Aflac Ford team will unload primary chassis RK-917 which is a new chassis. The backup chassis is RK-853 which was last run at Watkins Glen in 2013, finishing in fourth. Edwards is looking for his first win at the road course. He has a career-high finish of third in both 2011 and 2013. Edwards has 9 Sprint Cup starts at Sonoma with an average start of 17.8 and an average finish of 15.6. Edwards has finished in the top-five two times and in the top-ten four times.
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