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Nascar: Thirsty for a Sonoma Win

From Michigan to the West Coast

As the Playoffs approach, a plethora of drivers are still thirsty for a win. The glass of wine in victory lane at Sonoma Raceway could quench the thirst of one of these drivers.

After previously racing in the Great Lake State, the drivers of the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup are now on the West Coast. This weekend’s race will take place in the Wine Country at Sonoma Raceway. As the Playoffs approach, the season points continue to shift.

The season is a few races shy of the halfway point, but the first race of the Playoffs will only be 10 races away after Sunday’s race. This means drivers will be aggressively racing to chip in some wins in order to clench a spot in the Playoffs.

Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 24, 2018 in Sonoma, California. Photo courtesy of Sean Gardner/Getty Images.

Who Has Momentum?

So far this season, there seems to be a bit of a Kyle Busch/Joey Logano showdown. Busch was the frontrunner up until Michigan, leading in points with four wins. However, a fifth place finish on Monday was enough to push him down to second in point standings. Is Busch losing his momentum as the Playoffs are drawing near?

In favor of Logano, he grabbed his second win of the season and took the lead in season points, with Busch trailing behind by just nine points. The way the race played out for Logano on Monday seemed as if luck and knowledge contributed to the outcome. With the extra boost from the overtime, Logano used his tricks, knowledge and speed to earn the victory. Does Logano have his strategies figured out in time for the Playoffs?

As far as Sunday’s race in Sonoma, Logano better watch out. Busch has won at this track twice, with his most recent win taking place in 2015. After that victory, he has remained in the top 10 and top five. Busch’s history at Sonoma and last weekend’s results may set him up for success this weekend. Perhaps this race will indicate just how much momentum Busch has left.

For Logano, the statistics for Sonoma do not look promising. He has only finished in the top 10 four times at this track. However, at the rate he is driving, the odds could easily work in Logano’s favor this weekend.

Road Course Frontrunners

Perhaps Busch can finally redeem himself in Sonoma. After tying his season best finish last weekend (second), Busch could very well surpass that and find himself in victory lane. He has a very solid history at this track, with a win in 2011 and top 10 finishes every year since 2014. If Busch is seeking a win to secure a spot in the playoffs, Sonoma might be the place to do it.

Although Martin Truex Jr. has some success, winning last year and in 2013, he has also had some pretty rough finishes at this track. Aside from his two wins, he has only finished in the top 10 twice. However, Truex is sitting pretty comfortably in points, currently standing in sixth with three wins so far.

Based on his statistics, Clint Bowyer might be favored to win, or at least have a strong finish, at Sonoma. Although he has only won once at this track, he has an impressive history of seven top five and two top 10 finishes. If there is such a thing as a “safe bet” for this weekend, Bowyer could be just that.

An additional notable driver for Sonoma is Kevin Harvick. He has one win, five top five finishes, and three top 10 finishes. Harvick is currently standing fourth in points, however, he has not won yet this season. He could be among the drivers hoping for a win, and he could very well get it.

Who is the Most Thirsty Driver?

With the Playoffs approaching, and some winless drivers thirsty for a win, the race could end a number of different ways on Sunday. Moreover, the points standings could shift in many different directions. Finally, a multitude of drivers may prove just how much momentum they have as the season progresses.
Sonoma Raceway overview. Photo courtesy of Racing News.

Monster Energy Cup practices will be held Friday, June 21 at 2:35 and 5:35 p.m. EST. Qualifying will take place on Saturday, June 22 at 3:10 p.m. EST. The Toyota/Save Mart 350 will begin at 3:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, June 23. Sonoma Raceway is a 2.52 mile road course located in Sonoma, California.


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