After a week off we should see racing every week from now until the later stages of September. There have now been fifteen points races run this season and that means only eleven more to go before the start of the playoffs. That shouldn’t worry too many drivers at this point who don’t have win yet, but it won’t be long before they do start to worry about making the playoffs.
TOYOTA/SAVE MART 350
This week the series heads back out west to the Sonoma Raceway for the running of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. This will be the first road course race of the year and we could see a first time winner for this season. Over the past few years the field has seemed to improved quite a bit at this type of track where a lot of drivers can win here.
Clint Bowyer: I am going to pick Clint to win the race this weekend. This team looks much better this year than they did last year and Clint has always run very well here. He has one win and eight top five finishes in thirteen career races run at Sonoma. I think they pick up their first win of the season and qualify for the playoffs, but it won’t be easy.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin won this race two years ago and then finished second here last season. They are chomping at the bit to get their first win of the season and secure a spot in the playoffs. The concern here has been poor pit stops and many mistakes made on pit road. This week the cars will be pitting in the opposite direction they normally do and that might just throw a monkey wrench into an already bad situation.
Kyle Busch: Kyle has two wins at this track and finished fifth in each of his last two starts here. I think I am going to stay away from him this week just because of the fact that this type of track is very hard on equipment and any driver can get knocked out because of that. I think he is better used at tracks where he doesn’t have to worry too much about those kinds of things because he has proven he can win anywhere.
Martin Truex Jr.: Martin has won two of the last six races here, including the race last season and he pretty much dominated in both of those races. I think he is going to give the Stewart-Haas teams all they can handle this weekend and might even get his third win here. At this point he will be my starter in the A group of the DGG league.
Denny Hamlin: Denny has looked very good all season and he usually runs well on the road courses. He is still looking for his first career win at Sonoma and he might learn just enough more about this track from teammate Martin Truex Jr. to take that one extra step. He will be another driver who has an excellent shot at picking up another win on the season.
Chase Elliott: Chase has only run three races on this track and has finished in the top ten in his last two here. add the fact that he won at Watkins Glen last year and then finished sixth on the Roval at Charlotte and you can say he is a legitimate contender at all of the road course tracks now. Very well worth taking a chance on this week if you want to.
Kurt Busch: Kurt has been very impressive himself this season with his new team and he usually runs well at Sonoma. He has one win here, seven top five and ten top ten finishes in eighteen career starts. I look for him to have something for the rest of the field this weekend once again and it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see him win.
Joey Logano: The Michigan race winner usually starts out with a good car here, but ends up banging into the wrong bumper too many times in this race and then payback comes to haunt him. If he can learn to pass without using the bumper he will be a serious contender at these tracks. I would rather use him on the ovals at this point of his career though.
Ryan Newman: Ryan has run well at all of the road courses in his career and now that he is with Roush/Fenway Racing I think he has a good shot at picking up his first win at this track and his first win of the season. His best finish here was a second place finish and he is one of those drivers who is hard to pass on any track little less a road course.
Jimmie Johnson: Although he hasn’t had a really good past year and a half, Jimmie might be able to make some noise this weekend. He was in contention on the Roval at Charlotte last season and has one win, four top five and nine top ten finishes at this track in seventeen career starts. This might be his best shot at qualifying for the playoffs with a win rather than trying to point his way in.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR SONOMA RACEWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Chase Elliott
Driver Group Game Group B
- Clint Bowyer
- Kurt Busch
- Jimmie Johnson
- Ryan Newman
Driver Group Game Group C
- Michael McDowell
- Chris Buescher
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT SONOMA RACEWAY
- Clint Bowyer
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kyle Busch
- Chase Elliott
- Kevin Harvick
Dark Horse: Daniel Suarez
Stay Away From: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Big 18: Clint Bowyer