(First of all, I am excited to be back at Fanthem after a two-year absence and I return after a series of unfortunate events. I hope you return and continue to enjoy my work once again. Although due to my recent full-time job which requires me to work mostly Sundays at various times, I can now use SEC Football recruiting to make up for it. Again, thank you for allowing me to return.)
After a weekend off for Father’s Day, NASCAR is back at the track, this time for their first road course of the season: Sonoma. It is now the first of three as the Roval at Charlotte will now officially close out the road course part of the NASCAR Monster Energy season. Regardless of whether or not I will be able to watch this race, I will still preview the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma.
Road courses are like superspeedways, everyone is a contender to win no matter who you are or who you race for, and tracks like Sonoma can shake the standing more than any road course in NASCAR. Eight of the last ten races at Sonoma are full of previous active winners with the exception of 2014 and 2016 (Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards).
The only multiple active winner is none other than Kyle Busch. Kyle won in 2008 and 2015, which was his short season coming back from a leg injury and was the solid point of leading him to the championship. Other 2018 winners who have won at Sonoma are Kevin Harvick (last year’s winner), Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr.
In Friday’s practices, Bowyer and Kurt Busch were fastest, with qualifying following today. Kurt also won this event in 2011 and has had moderate success since then, finishing in the top ten in six of the last Sonoma races. Kurt is still searching for his first win in 2018 and his first since winners last year’s Daytona 500. He and other Stewart-Haas teammate Aric Almirola are winless in 2018.
Jimmie Johnson (2010) and former Hendrick teammate Kasey Kahne (2009) are the other two Sonoma winners also looking for their first 2018 win. Johnson’s only road course win came at Sonoma, and finished in the top ten five more consecutive years before that streak ended in 2016 (13th last two races). In 15 races, he has only six top tens.
This is FOX’s last NASCAR broadcast of 2018, while NBC will take over at Chicagoland and run the rest of the way.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Bryan Law