The NASCAR Cup Series returns to scenic California wine country for its annual stop at Sonoma Raceway.
The surrounding area has many winding roads through the hilly and winding road course north of San Francisco.
Everything you need to know for the second road course on this year’s Cup schedule is here:
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A staple of the Cup schedule since 1989, Sonoma is not new territory for the Cup Series field.
However, some of today’s riders have yet to compete on this weekend’s track layout. Competitors will race using the Chute between turns 4A and 7A on the 10-turn layout, eliminating the carousel course that was featured in 2019 and 2021 (NASCAR did not compete at Sonoma in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic). COVID).
Longtime fans will remember Chute’s layout as Sonoma’s standard from 1998-2018. Teams will be separated into Groups A and B and will be allowed 20 minutes of practice per group Saturday (4:35 p.m. ET, FS1) ahead of group qualifying to reacquaint yourself with the Chute as the Next Gen car makes its debut on the 1.99 mile course. .
Qualifications will include one 15-minute timed session per group. The fastest five from each group will then advance to the final qualifying round, where those 10 drivers will battle for pole in a 10-minute timed session. The driver with the fastest lap of this session will lead the field to the green flag on Sunday (4 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR radio).
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HISTORY IN THE COUNTRY OF WINE
– Sonoma Raceway was built on 800 acres in 1968 by a Point Reyes lawyer and Kentfield real estate developer. They got the idea for a race track while on a hunting trip. The property was a working farm called Sears Point Farm in the early 1900s.
– In 1969, the track was purchased by Filmways Corp. from Los Angeles. The track had many different owners and operators over the following years.
– In 1986, Harvey “Skip” Berg, owner of a real estate acquisition and development company, took control of the track and brought in professional management. Bruton Smith and Speedway Motorsports purchased the track in 1996.
– Sonoma Raceway joined the Cup schedule in 1989, a race won by Ricky Rudd, who led 61 of 74 laps over the “full” 2.52-mile, 12-corner course.
– The drop was introduced in 1998, shortening the track to 10 turns at 1.99 miles.
– Winners of most major events in Sonoma celebrate with a sip of the Champion’s Goblet in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle. The tumbler was introduced in 2006, incorporating the circuit’s rich wine heritage and allowing the winner to toast the fans. The tumblers are created by a local Sonoma glassblower.
Source: Race Insights
RELATED: See Every Driver Who Won at Sonoma
With tight cornering and heavy braking to come this weekend, the challenge is on Goodyear to provide a tire to handle these unique demands with the Next Gen car.
The heavy braking solicit the front tires while the rear tires are taxed with brutal acceleration out of corners. One area of focus for Goodyear this weekend is tire tread splicing, which the company notes is in particularly high demand. The tread splice is the area of the tread that is joined together during the manufacturing process.
For this reason, Goodyear will use a tire for the NASCAR Cup cars at Sonoma with two different tire codes – one code for left front and right rear, and another for right front and left rear. .
“We have a unique way of building and mounting tires for this week’s Cup race in Sonoma, with left-right ‘normal’ tire codes to help place tires in the correct corner of the road. car,” said Greg Stucker, director of Goodyear. race. “This directional fitment helps protect the beveled splice of the tread component, ensuring the splice is closed under braking force on both front tires and closed under acceleration force on both rears.”
SONOMA HISTORY LINES
– Kyle Larson has started first for the last four races at Sonoma, taking pole three times and earning pole via metrics in 2021.
– Kyle Larson has won three road races in 2021, the most ever in a single season.
– Sonoma is the second of five road races in 2022; four of the next 10 Cup races will be on road circuits.
– Hendrick Motorsports has won 10 of the last 15 road events and has not gone more than one road race without a win since 2019. Trackhouse Racing (Ross Chastain) won at Circuit of The Americas in March, the only race in Cut on a road course made this year.
– Christopher Bell has finished in the top 10 in the last five races, his longest career streak.
– Kevin Harvick (2017) and Martin Truex Jr. (2018, ’19) have combined to win three of Sonoma’s last four races. Both are winless in 2022, with Harvick on a 58-race winless streak.
– The pass for the win came in the last 10 laps of 12 of the 15 races in 2022.
– Kyle Busch has been passed for the win in the last two laps of each of the last two races
Source: Race Insights
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BACK TO FAVORITES
Whenever NASCAR visits a road course, Chase Elliott’s name is the first that comes to mind.
He should be. Four of Elliott’s last seven victories have come on a road course, dating back to his 2020 victory on the road course at Daytona International Speedway. The 2020 Cup champion enters as this week’s favorite at odds of 9-2, according to BetMGM.
But there is pause with a pick from Elliott: Despite all his success on the road, Elliott is yet to win at Sonoma, posting a better second-place finish last year against Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson. Larson, always a great qualifier in Sonoma, is BetMGM’s next best bet at 7-1 going into Sunday’s race.
It’s also hard to forget AJ Allmendinger, who will drive the #16 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing this weekend. BetMGM lists Allmendinger at 12-1, which could be a fantastic bet next Sunday. Allmendinger won last week’s Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway and was battling Ross Chastain for the COTA victory in March before Chastain sent Allmendinger spinning. Allmendinger drove Kaulig to Victory Lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last summer and will likely be a sure factor this weekend.
RELATED: Sonoma Betting Odds
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