NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Sonoma Raceway; Joey Logono on the Pole

By Reggie Gatlin-Holt

 

Joey Logano at Martinsville Speedway in 2023. By Zach Catanzareti Photo, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Toyota / Save Mart 350

The Place: Sonoma Raceway

Track Length: 1.99 Mile Asphalt Road Course

The Date: Sunday, June 9

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $8,426,274

TV: FOX, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 218.9 miles (110 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 25),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 55), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 110)

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Zip Buy Now, Pay Later 250

The Place: Sonoma Raceway

Track Length: 1.99 Mile Asphalt Road Course

The Date: Saturday, June 8

The Time: 8 p.m. ET

The Purse: $1,747,861

TV: FS1, 7:30 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 156.95 miles (79 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 45), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 79)

 

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

Next Race: Rackley Roofing 200

The Place: Nashville Superspeedway

Track Length: 1.33 Mile Concrete Oval

The Date: Friday, June 28

The Time: 8 p.m. ET

The Purse: $897,631

TV: FS2, 8 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 199.50 miles (150 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 95), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 150)

 

NASCAR Cup Series

California’s Sonoma Raceway welcomes the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend

Sonoma Raceway, located just outside Sonoma, California, will play host to the NASCAR Cup Series for the Toyota / Save Mart 350 this Sunday, June 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, the 16th event of the 2024 season, and the second of five road/street courses on the schedule this year (COTA, Sonoma, Chicago Street Race, Watkins Glen and Charlotte ROVAL).

So far this season, Hendrick Motorsport’s William Byron took the first road course victory of the year at Circuit of The Americas back in March. Now, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Sonoma Raceway to battle it out on the challenging 1.99-mile, multi-elevational road course for the 35th time in Cup Series history (1989-2024).

Joe Gibbs Racing’s teammates Denny Hamlin won the pole and Martin Truex Jr. took home the race win at Sonoma Raceway last season. It was Truex’s fourth win at Sonoma Raceway in the series (2013, 2018, 2019 and 2023) – most among active drivers this weekend.

Run It Back: A brief history of Sonoma Raceway and NASCAR

Sonoma Raceway was opened as a 2.52-mile, multi-elevational paved road course and drag strip in 1968. Over the course of its existence, the 12-turn facility has held a few different names – Sears Point Raceway, Sears Point International Raceway, and Infineon Raceway prior to being renamed Sonoma Raceway.

The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway was held on June 11, 1989 and was won by Ricky Rudd driving a Buick for car owner Kenny Bernstein. Rudd ran the race at an average speed of 76.088 mph and led 61 of 74 scheduled laps (82.4%). Rudd was recently nominated for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2025.

 

Over the years, the format and track configuration have changed at Sonoma Raceway. The first nine NASCAR Cup Series races at Sonoma were 300 kilometers and then the distance switched to a 350k format in 1998.

 

The track was reconfigured to 1.949-miles in 1998 with the installation of an 890-foot chute between the original Turns 4 and 7. The track was reconfigured to 2.0 miles in 2001 and re-measured at 1.99 miles in 2002.

 

In 2019 and 2021, the track was reconfigured back to the original 2.52-mile configuration with races being 90 laps – 226.8 miles. Then in 2022, Sonoma Raceway returned the track configuration back to the 1.99-mile configuration with the return of the ‘chute’.

 

There have been 34 NASCAR Cup Series races at Sonoma Raceway since the first race there in 1989 – one race per season – until the 2020 season. Due to the pandemic, the series did not compete at Sonoma Raceway in 2020.

 

Out Front: Qualifying well is imperative for a successful weekend at Sonoma

The 34 NASCAR Cup Series races at Sonoma Raceway have produced 19 different pole winners since the first event in 1989. Qualifying well is crucial for a shot at the win this weekend, as only two of the previous 34 Sonoma Raceway Cup races have been from a starting position outside the top-15 (5.9%).

In total, only 15 different starting positions on the grid have led to victories in the 34 NASCAR Cup Series races at Sonoma Raceway. The pole or first starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more series wins (six) than any other starting position at Sonoma Raceway.

 

In total, six of the 34 (17.6%) NASCAR Cup Series races at Sonoma Raceway have been won from the pole or first starting position; the most recent was Kyle Larson’s win in 2021. Four different drivers have won a NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway from the pole or first starting position: Jeff Gordon – leads series with three victories from the pole (1998, 1999 and 2004), along with Ernie Irvan (1994), Mark Martin (1997), and Kyle Larson (2021).

 

Of the 19 NASCAR Cup Series Sonoma Raceway pole winners, four are entered this weekend.

 

Active Pole Winners

Poles

Seasons

Kyle Larson

4

2022, 2019, 2018, 2017

Denny Hamlin

1

2023

AJ Allmendinger

1

2015

Joey Logano

1

2011

This weekend’s starting lineup will be decided by Busch Light Pole Qualifying, scheduled for Saturday, June 8 at 6 p.m. ET on FS2.

Larson heads to Sonoma looking to tie Jeff Gordon for most poles at the track

When it comes to starting on the pole at Sonoma Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series, nobody has done it more than NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon, who leads the series in poles at Sonoma with five (1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005). This weekend, Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson, fresh off receiving a waiver for missing the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, heads to Sonoma looking for his fifth career NASCAR Cup Series pole at Sonoma Raceway to tie Gordon’s series record for most poles at the famed Californian road course.

Larson currently leads all active Cup drivers in poles at Sonoma with four (2017, 2018, 2019, 2022).

The NASCAR Cup Series record for the most wins by a driver at a single road course is six victories at Riverside International Raceway by NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison (1971, 1973, 1975, 1979, 1981-1, 1981-3).

The Fab Four: Just four former Sonoma winners entered this weekend

Since 1989, a total of 21 different drivers have won at Sonoma Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon five victories at the famed road course (1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2006). This weekend, fans will also have a chance to check out former Sonoma Cup winners – Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez and Kyle Larson – compete this Sunday.

Active Sonoma Cup Winners

Wins

Seasons

Martin Truex Jr

4

2023, 2019, 2018, 2013

Kyle Busch

2

2015, 2008

Daniel Suárez

1

2022

Kyle Larson

1

2021

All the on-track action begins for the NASCAR Cup Series at Sonoma Raceway on Friday, June 7 with practice from 5-6 p.m. ET on FS1.

NASCAR brings a barrel of road course aces to Sonoma

At one time in the NASCAR Cup Series being a road course specialist was an anomaly, but not anymore.

Heading into this weekend at Sonoma Raceway, the NASCAR Cup Series has 14 former road course winners entered in the Toyota / Save Mart 350 this Sunday, June 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, and seven of them are looking for their first win of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season – Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, AJ Allmendinger, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain and Micheal McDowell.

 

Active Road Course Winners (14)

Wins

WGI

Sonoma

Charlotte

COTA

Indy

Daytona

Road Am.

Chicago

Chase Elliott

7

2

0

2

1

0

1

1

0

Martin Truex Jr

5

1

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

Kyle Busch

4

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

Kyle Larson

4

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

AJ Allmendinger

3

1

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

Tyler Reddick

3

0

0

0

1

1

0

1

0

Christopher Bell

2

0

0

1

0

0

1

0

0

William Byron

2

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

Daniel Suárez

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Denny Hamlin

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Joey Logano

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Ryan Blaney

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

Ross Chastain

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

Michael McDowell

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Totals

36

11

8

6

3

3

2

2

1

Of the 14 active Cup Series road course winners, eight have won multiple times on road courses, led by Hendrick Motorsport’s Chase Elliott with seven road course wins in his career. Elliott’s seven road course victories has him ranked third on the series all-time road course wins list behind only NASCAR Hall of Famers Jeff Gordon with nine road course victories (Sonoma, five win; Watkins Glen, four wins) and Tony Stewart with eight (Watkins Glen, five wins; Sonoma, three wins). With a win this weekend, Elliott would tie Stewart for second on the all-time road course wins list.

Last season’s Sonoma winner, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr., with five total road course wins in his career – second-most among active drivers – finished 10th at COTA earlier this season and is looking for his first win of 2024 this weekend. Truex is currently the highest ranked driver in the series point standings without a win this season.

Hendrick Motorsport’s William Byron is the most recent winner on a road course in the NASCAR Cup Series, taking the trophy at the Circuit of The Americas back in March.

Truex can tie Jeff Gordon for most Cup wins at Sonoma

Heading into this weekend, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. is the highest ranked competitor in the point standings without a win this season, a distinction he is hoping to change this weekend. Truex, the defending winner of Sonoma Raceway, grabbed his fourth victory at the esteemed 1.99-mile road course moving him into second on the Cup Series Sonoma all-time wins list, just behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon’s five wins (1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2006). This Sunday, Truex will have a shot at tying Gordon’s Sonoma wins record in the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

With a win this weekend at Sonoma, Truex would get his sixth NASCAR Cup Series career road course victory tying him with Rusty Wallace, Bobby Allison, Ricky Rudd and Richard Petty for third on the all-time series road course wins list.

Truex is currently riding a winless streak that is 31 races, dating back to last season’s New Hampshire Motor Speedway race on July 17, 2023.

Playoff Bubble Shuffle: Larson gets waiver, Cindric adds name to Playoff contenders

While Team Penske’s Austin Cindric was passing his teammate Ryan Blaney in the final laps at World Wide Technology Raceway to grab the win last weekend, several positions on the Playoff bubble started to shuffle. Cindric is ranked outside the top-16 in points, but his win catapults him into Playoff contention as one of the nine drivers that have earned a spot in the postseason.

In other Playoff news, Hendrick Motorsport’s Kyle Larson received a postseason waiver this week from NASCAR after he missed the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway due to participating in a rain-delayed Indianapolis 500. In total, two drivers have received waivers this season in the series Larson and Erik Jones (out two races due to back injury).

Heading to Sonoma Raceway this weekend, seven spots are up for grabs in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. The 10 drivers that have earned a spot in the Playoffs by virtue of wins this season are Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick, Brad Keselowski, Daniel Suarez and Austin Cindric.

The seven drivers currently occupying the remaining postseason spots on points are 10. Martin Truex Jr. (+132 points ahead of the Playoff cutoff), 11. Ty Gibbs (+107 points ahead of the cutoff), 12. Alex Bowman (+59), 13. Ross Chastain (+59), 14. Ryan Blaney (+47), 15. Bubba Wallace (+13) and 16. Chris Buescher (+10).

Currently in 17th, the first spot outside the postseason cutoff, after a 17th-place finish at Word Wide Technology Raceway last weekend is Chase Briscoe, -10 points back from RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher in 16th – the final transfer spot on points to the Playoffs. Not far behind Briscoe are a pair of multiple Cup Series champions Joey Logano in 18th (14 points back from Buescher) and Kyle Busch in 19th (20 points back from Buescher).

2024 Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 15 – Drivers Without Wins

Rank

Driver

Points

Wins

Stages

Playoff Pts

Pts From Cutoff

10

Martin Truex Jr.

490

0

2

2

132

11

Ty Gibbs

465

0

2

2

107

12

Alex Bowman

417

0

0

0

59

13

Ross Chastain

417

0

1

1

59

14

Ryan Blaney

405

0

1

1

47

15

Bubba Wallace

371

0

0

0

13

16

Chris Buescher

368

0

1

1

10

17

Chase Briscoe

358

0

0

0

-10

18

Joey Logano

354

0

1

1

-14

19

Kyle Busch

348

0

0

0

-20

20

Josh Berry #

264

0

0

0

-104

21

Carson Hocevar #

259

0

0

0

-109

22

Todd Gilliland

258

0

0

0

-110

23

Noah Gragson

255

0

0

0

-113

24

Michael McDowell

255

0

1

1

-113

25

John H. Nemechek

228

0

0

0

-140

26

Erik Jones*

228

0

0

0

-140

27

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

223

0

0

0

-145

28

Daniel Hemric

217

0

0

0

-151

29

Ryan Preece

211

0

0

0

-157

30

Austin Dillon

210

0

0

0

-158

31

Justin Haley

205

0

0

0

-163

32

Corey LaJoie

194

0

0

0

-174

33

Harrison Burton

155

0

0

0

-213

34

Zane Smith #

131

0

0

0

-237

Currently four drivers that made the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs last season are below the cutline this year – Joey Logano (18th, -14 points), Kyle Busch (19th, -20 points), Michael McDowell (24th, -113 points), and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (27th, -145 points).

Australian Invasion: Waters and Brown to attempt NASCAR Cup Series debuts at Sonoma

Flying over the Pacific Ocean this week from Australia to California are two competitors – Cam Waters and Will Brown – looking to make their NASCAR Cup Series career debuts this Sunday in the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

Cam Waters is an established veteran of the Repco Australian Supercars Series with quite the resume. A championship runner-up in 2020 and ’22, the Victoria native has 11 career wins. Waters, 29, made his NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut at Martinsville Speedway earlier this season and now has set his sights on the NASCAR Cup Series at Sonoma. Waters will pilot the No. 60 Ford for RFK Racing.

Joining Waters this week is Repco Supercars Championship star Will Brown, a native of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, who will drive the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday. Brown currently leads the Supercars Championship point standings.

“It’s just an incredible opportunity to be able to come out and race at the highest level in America,” said Brown. “I am extremely thankful to Richard Childress and everyone at Richard Childress Racing for the opportunity. I’ve been interested in NASCAR since I started racing Supercars, and even more so since the recent wave of success that some international drivers have had crossing over into the NASCAR Cup Series. I’ve got some great sponsors that have supported me for a long time in Australia, and I’m lucky enough that MobileX is joining us for the race, along with a long-term partner of mine, Shaw and Partners. Incredibly thankful also for Motorola and everyone else who has come on board for the race. It’s been massive to get everyone to support the program, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. I’m looking forward to the race and have been working hard to prepare.”

Waters and Brown are not the only competitors from that side of the world to make the journey to the United States for a taste of NASCAR’s unique style of racing in recent years. Shane van Gisbergen and Brodie Kostecki both have roots in Supercars racing and made their Cup Series debuts a season ago, with SVG famously winning the inaugural Chicago Street Race with Trackhouse Racing’s Project 91 program and beginning a full-time Xfinity Series campaign this season.

 

A total of 50 different drivers have made their first Cup Series start at Sonoma Raceway; the most recent was Grant Enfinger on June 11, 2023. Of the 50 drivers to make their Cup Series debut at Sonoma Raceway, sportscar star and former Formula One driver Jan Magnussen posted the best finish; he started 32nd and raced his way up to a 12th-place finish.

NASCAR Cup Series Drivers The Made Their Debuts At Sonoma Raceway

Rank

First-Time Drivers

Date

Rank

First-Time Drivers

Date

1

Grant Enfinger

6/11/2023

26

Jim Inglebright

6/23/2002

2

Ben Rhodes

6/6/2021

27

Brian Simo

6/25/2000

3

Alon Day

6/25/2017

28

Sean Woodside

5/4/1997

4

Billy Johnson

6/25/2017

29

Tom Hubert

5/4/1997

5

Josh Bilicki

6/25/2017

30

Jeff Krogh

5/5/1996

6

Kevin O’Connell

6/25/2017

31

Larry Gunselman

5/5/1996

7

Tommy Regan

6/25/2017

32

Dan Obrist

5/7/1995

8

Dylan Lupton

6/26/2016

33

Doug George

5/7/1995

9

Alex Kennedy

6/23/2013

34

Ken Pedersen

5/7/1995

10

Justin Marks

6/23/2013

35

Dirk Stephens

5/16/1993

11

Paulie Harraka

6/23/2013

36

P.J. Jones

5/16/1993

12

Victor Gonzalez Jr

6/23/2013

37

Rick Carelli

6/7/1992

13

David Mayhew

6/24/2012

38

Rick Scribner

6/7/1992

14

Tomy Drissi

6/24/2012

39

Ron Hornaday Jr

6/7/1992

15

Andy Pilgrim

6/26/2011

40

R.K. Smith

6/9/1991

16

Jan Magnussen

6/20/2010

41

Robert Sprague

6/9/1991

17

Mattias Ekstrom

6/20/2010

42

Scott Gaylord

6/9/1991

18

Marcos Ambrose

6/22/2008

43

Butch Gilliland

6/10/1990

19

Max Papis

6/22/2008

44

Jack Sellers

6/10/1990

20

David Gilliland

6/25/2006

45

Mike Chase

6/10/1990

21

Chris Cook

6/26/2005

46

Bill Cooper

6/11/1989

22

Brandon Ash

6/27/2004

47

Darin Brassfield

6/11/1989

23

Klaus Graf

6/27/2004

48

Dick Johnson

6/11/1989

24

Johnny Miller

6/22/2003

49

Terry Fisher

6/11/1989

25

Austin Cameron

6/23/2002

50

Troy Beebe

6/11/1989

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

NASCAR national series have been feeling the Cali vibes since 1951 – The first NASCAR national series event held in the state of California was a NASCAR Cup Series race on April 8, 1951 at Carrell Speedway – a half-mile dirt track located near Gardena, California. The race was won by Marshall Teague driving a Hudson that he owned.

Heading into this weekend, a total of 215 NASCAR national series points-paying races have been held in the state of California among 17 different tracks. In addition, the NASCAR Cup Series has also competed at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum from 2022 – 2024 for The Clash – a special non-points event to start the season. Of the 17 tracks, Riverside International Raceway has hosted the most NASCAR Cup Series races in California with 48 events from 1958-1988.

 

Impractical Jokers Star James Murray named Grand Marshal for Sunday at Sonoma – Sonoma Raceway will bring the punchline to the starting line as beloved comedian and TV Star James “Murr” Murray is announced as the Grand Marshal for the eagerly anticipated Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Cup Series race on June 9, 2024.

 

Murr will be promoting Impractical Jokers, the outrageous hidden camera hijinks series starring comedy trio Brian “Q” Quinn, James “Murr” Murray and Sal Vulcano, which moves to its new home on TBS with fresh episodes this summer. Previous episodes are available to catch up on Max.

 

As Grand Marshal for Sunday’s race, Murr will have the honor of speaking the four most famous words in motorsports, “Drivers, Start Your Engines!” Known for his wit, charm and ability to ignite laughter from audiences, Murr will be right at home with the sound of the engines lighting off upon his command.

 

“Murr bringing his exuberant style to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 as Grand Marshal is a great fit for our race,” said Brian Flynn, executive vice president and general manager of Sonoma Raceway. “Fans can expect the unexpected from both the racing and Murr himself, adding to the thrilling atmosphere of our race day experience.”

 

Bay area native DJ Umami to perform pre-race concert at Sonoma Raceway – Before the roar of NASCAR Cup Series cars reverberates off the hillsides at Sonoma Raceway, Bay Area native DJ Umami will boost the crowd’s energy in the form of a prerace concert prior to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday, June 9.

DJ Umami is currently the resident DJ for the San Francisco Giants, after having entertained fans in that same fashion with the Golden State Warriors from 2012-2021. The unmistakable fervor and flavor she brings to any event, celebration or dance floor has been a constant since she splashed onto the local scene in San Francisco in 2008. Within just a year, she gained residency with the prestigious female DJ crew “Peaches.”

Umami’s rise in the music industry has been punctuated with opening sets for renowned artists such as Dua Lipa, Anderson Paak, and Thundercat. In addition, DJ Umami has made appearances at Outside Lands in San Francisco, Google and the Nike Women’s Marathon and is part of the Creative Collective for Bacardi Ocho Reserve.

While R&B, Soul and Hip Hop are foundational to her musical taste, it’s Umami’s ability to read the energy of a crowd combined with her belief in music as healing that drives her to serve an eclectic menu of sounds. As a Filipina American, her desire is to bring more visibility to the craft and inspire the next generation of women DJs. Umami’s vibrancy and versatility across varied audiences promises to rev up the crowd in anticipation of the green flag.

Milestone Watch: Sonoma Raceway:  Below are the possible milestones that can achieved this weekend at Sonoma Raceway or in the coming weeks in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Starts

Kyle Larson is expected to make his 350th NASCAR Cup Series career start at the Chicago Street Race.

 

Austin Cindric is expected to make his 100th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Pocono Raceway

Kyle Busch is expected to make his 700th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

 

Wins

Denny Hamlin currently has 54 NASCAR Cup Series wins, if he were to win another race, he would tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace for 11th on the all-time wins list with 55 victories each.

Martin Truex Jr. currently has 34 NASCAR Cup Series wins, if he were to win another race, he would tie Brad Keselowski for 24th on the all-time wins list with 35 victories each.

Joey Logano currently has 32 NASCAR Cup Series wins, if he were to win another race, he would tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts for 27th on the all-time wins list with 33 victories each.

Kyle Larson currently has 25 NASCAR Cup Series wins, if he were to win another race, he would tie Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Fred Lorenzen for 32nd on the all-time wins list with 26 victories each.

Track Specific Milestones:

Kyle Larson could tie Jeff Gordon for the most Cup Series poles at Sonoma Raceway this weekend. Gordon currently has five and Larson has four.

Martin Truex Jr. can tie Jeff Gordon for the most Cup Series wins at Sonoma Raceway this weekend. Gordon currently has five wins and Truex has four.

Joe Gibbs Racing can tie Hendrick Motorsports for the most wins by an organization in the Cup Series at Sonoma Raceway. Hendrick currently leads the series with seven victories among three drivers: Jeff Gordon (five: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2006), Jimmie Johnson (one: 2010) and Kyle Larson (one: 2021). Joe Gibbs Racing currently has six wins (2023, 2019, 2015, 2008, 2005, 2001).

Crew Member Spotlight: Sonoma Raceway Weekend – This weekend at Sonoma Raceway we wanted to highlight several of the team’s crew members that are from the surrounding areas of the track in California.

CREW MEMBERS FROM CALIFORNIA (Alphabetical Order by Last Name)

Name

Organization

Team Number

Title/Position

Hometown

Joseph “Joe” Anderson

Hendrick Motorsports

24

Hauler Driver

Valencia, CA

Chad Avrit

Hendrick Motorsports

9

Rear Tire Changer

El Centro, CA

Tony Barkman

Trackhouse Racing

99

Mechanic

Rio Vista, CA

David Brandon

Spire motorsports

77

Hauler Driver

Lancaster, CA

Markus Pierce-Brewster

Kaulig Racing

31

Jackman

National City, CA

David Fero

Trackhouse Racing

1

Car Chief

Galt, CA

Anthony Garatti

Spire Motorsports

7

Hauler Driver

Petaluma, CA

James Keener

Stewart-Haas Racing

10

Fueler

Fortuna, CA

Collin Markle

Front Row Motorsports

34

Race Engineer/Tire Specialist

Hanford, CA

Garett Peterson

Spire Motorsport

77

Race Engineer

Sacramento, CA

Matthew Philpott

Joe Gibbs Racing

11

Interior Specialist/ Tire Specialist

Tracy, CA

Jack Rickelmann

Hendrick Motorsports

9

Tire Specialist

Thousand Oaks, CA

Glenn Shano

Trackhouse Racing

99

Hauler Driver

Toronto CA

Front Row Motorsports extends contract with Todd Gilliland – Front Row Motorsports (FRM) confirms that Todd Gilliland has signed a multi-year contract extension to continue to race for the organization for years to come. Gilliland will return to one of the organization’s three NASCAR Cup Series teams in 2025.

The 24-year-old driver has been with FRM since the inception of its NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series program and has followed in his father’s footsteps as a driver with FRM.

“Todd (Gilliland) and his family have been with my family and the team for a very long time,” said Bob Jenkins, Owner, Front Row Motorsports. “We’ve watched him grow, mature, and show all his potential behind our truck and car. It’s now his time to lead us into our next phase of winning races and being a consistent playoff contender.”

Gilliand is currently ranked 22nd in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, and in 15 starts this season he has posted one top-10 finish and led a career-high 101 laps.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Road racin’ in wine country: Sonoma Raceway up next

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be staying in the road course groove as it heads to Sonoma Raceway for the Zip Buy Now, Pay Later 250 on Saturday, June 8 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, after coming off a wild one at Portland International Raceway road course last weekend.

This will be the second time the Xfinity Series has competed on the Sonoma, California 1.99-mile course. The first was last season in a race that saw Aric Almirola take the checkered flag over road course ringer A.J. Allmendinger by a mere 1.868 seconds.

Although Almirola was the first to land himself in Victory Lane at the 12-turn Sonoma circuit, it was Kyle Larson who won the pole with a speed of 91.393 mph.

Neither driver is entered in this weekend’s Zip Buy Now, Pay Later 250 so we will see a new pole sitter and race winner at Sonoma Raceway.

Xfinity Series drivers will kick off their weekend with practice at 4:05 p.m. ET on Friday, June 7, which will air on FS1 at 5 p.m. ET. Qualifying will be the following day at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS2.

 

Different Winners Streak: Can Van Gisbergen go back-to-back?

To no one’s surprise, New Zealander and former V8 Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen, now driving for Kaulig Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, showed his road course prowess last weekend at Portland International Raceway and secured his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win, locking himself into the Playoffs. Van Gisbergen is the 11th different driver to win in the Xfinity Series this season and the seventh consecutive different winner in as many races. Now, the 35-year-old is looking to ride the wave of momentum from his victory to Sonoma Raceway and keep the winning ways going this weekend.

If van Gisbergen were to win this weekend, he would not only end the streak of different winners, but also join Austin Hill as just the second driver this season to win consecutive Xfinity Series races this year.

And for those that don’t know, van Gisbergen’s win last weekend made him the seventh different foreign-born driver to win a race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series all-time (1982-2024), joining Daniel Suarez (Mexico), Marcos Ambrose (Australia), Nelson Piquet Jr. (Brazil), Juan Pablo Montoya (Columbia), Ron Fellows (Canada) and Larry Pollard (Canada).

Masters of Xfinity Series road racing

The all-time NASCAR Xfinity Series road course winners list was extended to 41 drivers last weekend after Kaulig Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen grabbed his first career win at Portland International Raceway. Now, the Xfinity Series teams have turned their focus on this week’s Sonoma Raceway, the second of six road courses on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule this season. Of the 41 all-time Xfinity road course winners, eight are entered this weekend in the Zip Buy Now, Pay Later 250 on June 8.

Active Xfinity Road Course Winners

Xfinity Road & Street Course Wins

AJ Allmendinger

11

Ty Gibbs

4

Justin Allgaier

3

Sam Mayer

3

Cole Custer

2

Boris Said

1

Shane Van Gisbergen

1

Jeremy Clements

1

Tracks

Active Road Course Winners This Weekend by Track

Watkins Glen International

Sam Mayer (1), Ty Gibbs (1)

Indianapolis Motor Speedway RC

AJ Allmendinger (1), Ty Gibbs (1)

Charlotte ROVAL

AJ Allmendinger (4), Sam Mayer (1)

Road America

AJ Allmendinger (1), Sam Mayer (1), Jeremy Clements (1), Justin Allgaier (1), Ty Gibbs (1)

Circuit of The Americas

AJ Allmendinger (2)

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Montreal)

Boris Said (1), Justin Allgaier (1)

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

AJ Allmendinger (2), Justin Allgaier (1)

Portland International Raceway

AJ Allmendinger (1), Cole Custer (1), Shane van Gisbergen (1)

Daytona Road Course

Ty Gibbs (1)

Chicago Street Race

Cole Custer (1)

Sonoma Raceway

None

Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger heads to Sonoma looking to avenge his runner-up finish in last year’s race. They don’t call him the king of road courses for nothing as he currently leads the Xfinity Series record with 11 victories on road courses. This year, in the first two road course races at COTA and Portland, he’s finished 10th and fourth, respectively.

In search of his second win of the season, JR Motorsports’ Sam Mayer looks to continue to show how he has become one of the premier road course ringers in the series. Last season he posted wins on three out of the eight road courses on the schedule (Road America, Watkins Glen, Charlotte ROVAL). On this season’s road courses, he posted a ninth-place finish at COTA and won the pole at Portland.

While still searching for his first career win on a road course, Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill could finally get over the hump this weekend. Last season, he posted top-five finishes on four out of the eight road courses on the schedule (Portland, Chicago, Road America, Indianapolis Road Course) and top-10 finishes on two others (Sonoma, Charlotte Road Course). Hill came close to posting his first road course victory at COTA earlier this season, taking home a runner-up finish.

 

Playoff picture tightens up after Portland

With a win by Shane van Gisbergen last weekend at Portland, another spot in the Playoffs has been filled. So far, Austin Hill, Chandler Smith, Justin Allgaier, Jesse Love, Sam Mayer and Shane van Gisbergen have clinched their way into the postseason by virtue of their wins, leaving just six spots up for grabs.

Let’s take a look at how the field is shaping up as it heads into week 14 of the 2024 season:

NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Projection Following Portland International Raceway – 6/1/2024

Rank

Driver

Points

Starts

Race Wins

Stage Wins

Playoff Pts

+/- Cutoff

1

Austin Hill

457

13

2

2

12

In On Wins

2

Chandler Smith

457

13

2

3

13

3

Justin Allgaier

452

13

1

10

15

4

Jesse Love #

402

13

1

4

9

5

Sam Mayer

305

13

1

0

5

6

Shane van Gisbergen #

303

13

1

0

5

7

Cole Custer

475

13

0

2

2

167

8

AJ Allmendinger

380

13

0

0

0

72

9

Riley Herbst

378

13

0

1

1

70

10

Sheldon Creed

354

13

0

0

0

46

11

Parker Kligerman

342

13

0

1

1

34

12

Sammy Smith

328

13

0

0

0

20

13

Ryan Sieg

308

13

0

0

0

-20

14

Brandon Jones

305

13

0

0

0

-23

15

Anthony Alfredo

296

13

0

0

0

-32

16

Parker Retzlaff

242

13

0

0

0

-86

17

Brennan Poole

240

13

0

0

0

-88

18

Josh Williams

219

13

0

0

0

-109

19

Jeremy Clements

197

13

0

0

0

-131

20

Leland Honeyman #

195

13

0

0

0

-133

21

Kyle Weatherman

188

13

0

0

0

-140

22

Jeb Burton

176

13

0

0

0

-152

23

Ryan Ellis

171

13

0

0

0

-157

24

Blaine Perkins

146

13

0

0

0

-182

25

Hailie Deegan #

143

13

0

0

0

-185

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

 

Double duty drivers at Sonoma – A couple drivers will be looking to get some extra seat time this weekend at Sonoma Raceway – Ty Gibbs and John Hunter Nemechek.

Gibbs will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for his third Xfinity Series start of the 2024 season. He ran at Sonoma last season in the series, posting a fourth-place finish.

Nemechek will be joining Joe Gibbs Racing behind the wheel of the No. 20 Toyota for his seventh Xfinity Series start of the season. He ran in the inaugural Xfinity Series Sonoma race last season, posting a 16th-place finish.

Said Heads Unite! Boris Said returns to NASCAR with Hendrick Motorsports – Veteran road racing ace Boris Said will be making his triumphant return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series this weekend at Sonoma Raceway driving the No. 17 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Said, from Carlsbad, California, will be making his first series start since driving the No. 13 for Carl Long at COTA in 2021.

Though, Said has not competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Sonoma, he has made 17 NASCAR Cup Series start at the road course posting five top-10 finishes.

 

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

 

Regular Season Title Watch: Eckes controls point standings with four to go

McAnally-Hilgemann Racing’s Christian Eckes continues to have a breakout year as he holds onto the driver points lead in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series with four races left in the regular season. The 23-year-old is currently 31 points up on Corey Heim in second as the series takes three weeks off before returning at Nashville Superspeedway for the Rackley Roofing 200 on Friday, June 28 at 8 p.m. ET on FS2, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

If Eckes can hold on and win the Regular Season Championship, he will get an additional 15 Playoff points to take with him into the postseason and will become the eighth different driver to win the regular season title; joining Christopher Bell (2017), Johnny Sauter (2018), Grant Enfinger (2019), Austin Hill (2020), John H. Nemechek (2021), Zane Smith (2022) and Corey Heim (2023).

Eckes’ points lead began after a strong showing at Darlington – earning himself a total of 50 points to jump over Heim. The Middletown, New York Native has accumulated two wins, six top-five, and 11 top-10 finishes this season. He also leads the series in laps led this season with 464.

The driver of the No. 19 Chevrolet cannot yet clinch the Regular Season Championship since there are still four wins available.

Right in Eckes’ review mirror is last season’s Regular Season champion and TRICON Garage driver Corey Heim, who is coming off an impressive win last weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. The 21-year-old driver of the No. 11 Toyota has collected four wins (the most of any driver this season), eight top fives, 10 top 10s, and has led 408 laps on the season.

Heim is hoping to catch Eckes within the next four races and become the first driver to win multiple Regular Season Championships in the series.

 

Repeat winners allow six spots still up for grabs in the Playoffs

Through 12 races this season, four drivers have earned their spot in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs by virtue of their wins – Christian Eckes, Corey Heim, Nick Sanchez and Rajah Caruth – leaving six spots in the 10-driver Playoff field still available heading into Nashville Superspeedway on June 28.

With only four races in the regular season remaining, the battle for the final postseason transfer spot is heating up and time is running out.

Following World Wide Technology Raceway, Stewart Friesen is ranked 11th in the Playoff outlook, 26 points back from Grant Enfinger in the 10th and final postseason transfer spot on points. Just behind Friesen is Daniel Dye in 12th, -37 points back from the postseason cutoff, and three-time Truck Series champion Matt Crafton is 13th, -46 points back from Enfinger. Since the introduction of the Playoffs in the series in 2016, Matt Crafton has not missed the Playoffs, and he leads the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in postseason appearances with eight consecutive (2016-2023).

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff Outlook Following World Wide Technology Raceway (Race No. 12)

Rank

Driver

Points

Starts

Race Wins

Stage Wins

Playoff Pts

+/- Cutoff

1

Corey Heim

475

12

4

4

24

In On Wins

2

Christian Eckes

506

12

2

3

13

3

Nick Sanchez

453

12

2

1

11

4

Rajah Caruth

357

12

1

0

5

5

Ty Majeski

442

12

0

5

5

149

6

Taylor Gray

365

12

0

0

0

72

7

Tyler Ankrum

342

12

0

2

2

49

8

Ben Rhodes

329

12

0

0

0

36

9

Tanner Gray

321

12

0

1

1

28

10

Grant Enfinger

319

12

0

0

0

26

11

Stewart Friesen

293

12

0

0

0

-26

12

Daniel Dye

282

12

0

0

0

-37

13

Matt Crafton

273

12

0

0

0

-46

14

Chase Purdy

267

12

0

0

0

-52

15

Jake Garcia

250

12

0

0

0

-69

16

Layne Riggs #

243

12

0

0

0

-76

17

Dean Thompson

240

12

0

0

0

-79

18

Bayley Currey

222

12

0

0

0

-97

19

Bret Holmes

221

12

0

0

0

-98

20

Ty Dillon

215

12

0

0

0

-104

21

Timmy Hill

203

12

0

0

0

-116

22

Matt Mills

177

12

0

0

0

-142

23

Mason Massey

176

12

0

0

0

-143

24

Lawless Alan

158

12

0

0

0

-161

25

Spencer Boyd

148

12

0

0

0

-171

26

Thad Moffitt #

106

12

0

0

0

-213

 

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will end ‘The Trip’ in Music City

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will have three weeks off to regroup before heading to Nashville Superspeedway for the Rackley Roofing 200, the final race of the 2024 Triple Truck Challenge (Friday, June 28, at 8:00 p.m. ET on FS2, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

The 16 previous CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races at the 1.33-mile track have produced 13 different race winners and 12 different pole winners. Seven of the Truck Series races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Ryan Preece in 2022.

Johnny Benson Jr., Kyle Busch, and Ryan Preece lead all drivers with two victories at the 1.33-mile track and Toyota leads the pack with the most wins in Nashville, coming in at six victories.

Season

Manufacturer

Race Winners

2005

Toyota

David Reutimann

2006

Toyota

Johnny Benson Jr.

2008

Toyota

Johnny Benson Jr.

2010

Toyota

Kyle Busch

2010

Toyota

Todd Bodine

2011

Toyota

Kyle Busch

Ford and Chevrolet follow with four trips to Victory Lane each and Dodge has two wins.

The Rackley Roofing 200 will be broken up into three stages. The first stage will be 45 laps, followed by 50 in the second stage, and the final stage will be 55 laps for a race total of 150 laps (199.5 miles).

Practice will begin Friday, June 28 at 4:30 p.m. ET followed by Cometic Gasket Pole Qualifying at 5:00 p.m. ET.

 

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.

 

Brenden “Butterbean” Queen scores two more NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series starts – CARS Tour late model stock car standout Brenden “Butterbean” Queen will once again be joining forces with TRICON Garage to pilot the No. 1 Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra at Nashville Superspeedway and Kansas Speedway.

The Chesapeake, Virginia driver had a breakout campaign in 2023 earning four victories, 13 top fives and 15 top 10s in CARS Tour competition enroute to a second-place finish in the series points standings.

In his CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut at North Wilkesboro this season, the 26-year-old finished fourth.

“This will be my true test of aero racing and stuff like that,” said Queen. “For me, I want to go run well and perform, but like Wilkesboro I want to learn as much as I can and complete all the laps. I feel like if I can do that, that will put us in a good position to finish as well as we can. The whole time will be a learning curve with how the aero works, but it’s something that in this part of my career I need to go do. To have this opportunity this year is very valuable.”

 

COURTESY NASCAR INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS

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