NASCAR comes to Sonoma racetrack this weekend

I hope all the dads reading this had a great Father’s Day Sunday. The NASCAR Sprint Cup teams got the holiday off, but there was plenty of racing in other series. Cup driver Kurt Busch showed up in Baku, Azerbaijan to cheer on the Haas F1 team owned by his car owner Gene Haas. Unfortunately for the team, the race was another Mercedes benefit with Nico Rosberg leading from pole position to take a convincing win over Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari. Rosberg’s teammate Lewis Hamilton started 10th. Hamilton finished fifth. The biggest surprise of the race was the safety car was never deployed. Practice and qualifying saw a number of incidents on a track that combined top speeds of more than 220 miles per hour with tight and twisty low-speed corners. The teams struggled with the compromise in downforce required to cope with both. But the race was relatively clean, and Rosberg increased his season points lead over his teammate to 24.

...

The 24 Hours of Le Mans also ran last weekend, and the Ford GTs were back on top. Not for the overall victory, which went to a Porsche 919 hybrid by three laps, but for the win in the LMGTE Pro category. The Ganassi cars finished first and third in class, (18th and 20th overall) giving Chip Ganassi the distinction of being the only car owner to win the Indy 500, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Rolex 24 at Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, and the Le Mans 24 Hours. IndyCar ace Sebastien Bourdais, Joey Hand, and Dirk Muller drove the car to victory. The second Ganassi car was piloted by Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, and Richard Westbrook.

...

The NASCAR Sprint Cup series makes it closest visit to northern Nevada this weekend, just over the hill at the Sonoma road course. I always enjoy watching this race because Sonoma (or Sears Point to us traditionalists) is my home track, and I have a lot of laps there. I especially enjoy watching the in-car footage, because it brings back old memories. The battle to make the Chase is heating up, and there have been no repeat winners in a points race since April 24 when Carl Edwards won his second in a row. So who will win at Sonoma? Only two active drivers have won there twice; Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart. Neither has been running well of late. Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. have won once each in recent years. A.J. Allmendinger took the pole last year but was unable to convert it into a win. Sonoma and Watkins Glen are his two best chances to punch his ticket to the Chase. But Sonoma often turns into a strategy race and for that reason my money is on the dynamic duo of Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knauss. Johnson won in 2010 and has always been a threat on a road course. And there’s nobody in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage better at race strategy than Knauss. Kyle Larson topped the first of two practice sessions Friday with teammate Jamie McMurray second fastest. Qualifying will air on Fox Sports One today at 11:15 a.m.

...

In other racing action this weekend, the IndyCar series returns to the four-mile road course at Road America. Penske NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski took part in a test at the track, taking laps in Simon Pagenaud’s No. 22 machine. But Brad will be at Sonoma, not Road America this weekend. Pagenaud used the test to good effect and set fast time in Friday’s first practice session.

...

Next weekend, Fernley 95A Speedway hosts the final two races of the IMCA Modified Iron-Man Challenge on Friday and Saturday nights. The Hobby Stocks will join the Modifieds on Friday, and all race classes will run on Saturday. Start time is 7 p.m. both nights.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment