Driver Handicaps: Sonoma

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Jimmie Johnson (2010 winner) and Marcos Ambrose each have finished in the top 10 in their last five starts at Sonoma. (Photo: Getty Images)

Driver Averages Loop Data eBook (pdf)Driver Ratings Past Winners

MRN.com's detailed notes and statistics to help you set your fantasy racing lineup for Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

Who's HOT at Sonoma
• Jeff Gordon leads all drivers with five wins and has finished in the top 10 in his last eight starts.
• Jimmie Johnson has finished in the top 10 in the last five races, including a win in 2010.
• Marcos Ambrose has a 5.8 average finish in his last five starts.
• Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer each have finished in the top five in their last three starts, including wins for both in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
• Kevin Harvick has posted an average finish of 9.5 in his last four starts.
• Two-time winner Tony Stewart has two runner-up finishes in his five starts with Stewart-Haas Racing.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Sonoma
• AJ Allmendinger tested at Sonoma earlier this month as he gets ready to make his first track start with JTG Daugherty Racing. He finished ninth in his last Sonoma start in 2012 with Team Penske.
• Ambrose, Gordon Stewart, Kyle Busch (2008 winner) and Brian Vickers participated in the Goodyear tire test at Sonoma in March.
• Joey Logano, who has a 9.0 average finish in his last three Sonoma starts, tested with teammate Brad Keselowski at Road Atlanta.
• Defending race winner Martin Truex Jr. will make his first Sonoma start with Furniture Row Racing.
• Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle, who both tested at Virginia International Raceway, will look to bounce back from a disappointing outing at Michigan International Speedway last weekend by each debuting new cars at Sonoma.
• Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett will each run in Saturday's NASCAR K&N race to gain more experience at Sonoma. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who will be making his second Cup start at Sonoma, will also run in the K&N race.
• Ryan Newman and Dillon both tested at Virginia International Raceway.
• Kasey Kahne is coming off his third top 10 in his last five Sonoma starts, which includes a win in
2009.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be looking to carry the momentum of three consecutive top 10s on the season into Sonoma, which is the only track he's yet to score a top-10 finish at.

Tire Notes: Teams will run a new tire code this weekend based off a test that was conducted in March at Sonoma with drivers Marcos Ambrose, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers. Versus last season, the new tire features a compound change designed to give the cars more grip.

Be sure to check back at MRN.com for practice speeds on Friday.

Qualifying Facts - Note: First at the Track under new "Knockout" Format

*Poles
*Best Starting Avg. 
Races Won from Starting Pos.
Jeff Gordon - 5
Marcos Ambrose - 4.5
Pole - 5 times
Kasey Kahne - 2
Jeff Gordon - 7.5
Top Five - 14 times 
Jamie McMurray - 2
Kurt Busch - 10.1
Top 10 - 18 times 
Six drivers with one Joey Logano - 11.0
Top 15 - 23 times
  Tony Stewart - 11.1
Worst - 32nd, one time

* - Must be entered in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

2014 Top "Knockout" Qualifying Performers (*13 Races)
Driver Poles Final Rounds
Kevin Harvick 3 9
Brad Keselowski 2 11
Denny Hamlin 2 8
Joey Logano 1 12
Carl Edwards 1 8
Jimmie Johnson 1 8
Kyle Busch 1 7
Tony Stewart 1 6
Matt Kenseth 1 4
Jeff Gordon 0 9

*Qualifying was rained out at Richmond

*Best Average Finish at Sonoma

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Clint Bowyer
3.0
Four Races
Jeff Gordon
3.8
Six Races
Jeff Gordon
4.5
Eight Races
Jeff Gordon
4.4
10 Races
Jeff Gordon
6.9

* - The best average finish is based off a driver who has competed in every race during that time span.

Sonoma Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2013, 9 Races)*

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Tony Stewart
1. Marcos Ambrose
1. Kurt Busch - 10.0
2. Marcos Ambrose
2. Kurt Busch
2. Marcos Ambrose - 10.5
3. Kurt Busch
3. Tony Stewart
3. Tony Stewart - 11.0
4. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Clint Bowyer
4. Jimmie Johnson - 12.5
5. Jeff Gordon
5. Carl Edwards
5. Jeff Gordon - 12.6
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Kurt Busch - 761
1. Tony Stewart - 261
1. Marcos Ambrose - 108.0
2. Tony Stewart - 740
2. Jimmie Johnson - 240
2. Kurt Busch - 107.8
3. Jimmie Johnson - 717
3. Jeff Gordon - 230
3. Tony Stewart - 102.4
4. Jeff Gordon - 666
4. Clint Bowyer - 216
4. Jeff Gordon - 101.6
5. Ryan Newman - 572
5. Kasey Kahne - 210
5. Jimmie Johnson - 97.3

*Must be entered in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Ratings: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.


For a look at all the pre-race Loop Data for Sonoma, view the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Pre-Race Loop Data Book (pdf)

Season Loop Data Leaders

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Brad Keselowski
1. Jeff Gordon
1. Jeff Gordon - 8.9
2. Joey Logano
2. Kevin Harvick
2. Joey Logano - 9.8
3. Kevin Harvick
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
3. Jimmie Johnson - 9.9
4. Jeff Gordon
4. Jimmie Johnson
4. Brad Keselowski - 10.8
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Brad Keselowski
5. Kevin Harvick - 11.1
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Joey Logano - 3931
1. Jeff Gordon - 1129
1. Jimmie Johnson - 110.0
2. Jeff Gordon - 3863
2. Joey Logano - 1109
2. Kevin Harvick - 108.9
3. Brad Keselowski - 3842
3. Kevin Harvick - 1036
3. Jeff Gordon - 107.4
4. Matt Kenseth - 3712
4. Denny Hamlin - 1013
4. Joey Logano - 105.4
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 3608
5. Kurt Busch - 995
5. Brad Keselowski - 104.2

*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Early In a Run: *Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.


MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Marcos Ambrose
Pete Pistone: Kurt Busch
Dustin Long:Tony Stewart
John Singler: Jimmie Johnson

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

Jeff Gordon: Leads all drivers in a number of statistical categories at Sonoma including wins (five), average finish (8.2), top fives (13), top 10s (17), laps led (454) and poles (five). Gordon has finished ninth or better in every race dating back to his last win in 2006 and participated in the Goodyear Tire test back in March. This weekend, he will debut a new car (chassis No. 878) in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

Jimmie Johnson: Has finished in the top 10 in his last five Sonoma starts, including a win in 2010. Johnson will debut a new car (chassis No. 875) for the first road-course race of the season.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Is looking to carry the momentum of three consecutive top 10s on the season into Sonoma, which is the only track where he's yet to score a top-10 finish. Earnhardt has finished 11th three times, most recently in 2010. This weekend, he will return in the same car (chassis No. 747) that he last finished 30th with at Watkins Glen International in 2013.

Matt Kenseth: Last season, Kenseth finished 19th in his first Sonoma start for Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth's lone top 10 in 14 overall starts came in 2008 with Roush Fenway Racing. Sonoma is the only track on the circuit where Kenseth has not led a lap.

Brad Keselowski: Has posted one top 10 and a 19.5 average finish in four starts at Sonoma. He tested at Road Atlanta last month in preparation for the first road race of the season. This weekend, Keselowski will return in the same car (chassis No. 901) that he finished 38th with at Martinsville Speedway.

Carl Edwards: Has finished third in two of the last three races at Sonoma. Edwards will look to bounce back from a disappointing day at Michigan International Speedway with another good run at Sonoma, after recently completing a test at Virginia International Raceway. This weekend, Edwards will debut a new car (chassis No. 917).

Joey Logano: Finished 11th last year in his first Sonoma start with Team Penske. Logano posted one pole and two top-10 finishes in his previous four starts with Joe Gibbs Racing. Logano, who tested at Road Atlanta, will return in the same car (chassis No. 902) that he finished fourth with at Martinsville Speedway.

Kyle Larson: Making his first road-course Sprint Cup Series start this weekend. Larson will get some extra track time by running in Saturday's K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma.

Kevin Harvick: Coming off his fifth top 10 - and third in the last four races - in 13 starts at Sonoma. Harvick tested at Virginia International raceway in preparation for his first road-course start with Stewart-Haas Racing. The car (chassis No. 873) Harvick will race in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 is a new one and is the same one he tested.

Kyle Busch: Has not finished in the top 10 at Sonoma since winning in 2008. Busch was one of five drivers that participated in the Goodyear Tire test in March and will look to turn around a disappointing 35th-place finish there last season.

Ryan Newman: Did not finish in the top 10 in his five Sonoma starts driving a Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Newman's last of five top 10s came in 2008, when he was driving for Team Penske. Newman, who participated in the test at Virginia International Raceway, will debut a new car (Chassis No. 471) when he makes his first track start with Richard Childress Racing in Sunday's race.

Denny Hamlin: Has posted an average finish of 32.3 since his last Sonoma top-10 finish (fifth) in 2009.

Paul Menard: Has yet to finish in the top 10 in six starts. Menard will debut a new car (chassis No. 470) this weekend.

Clint Bowyer: Has finished in the top 10 in his last three starts, including a win in 2012. Bowyer will be back in the same car (chassis No. 767) that he finished fifth and sixth with in the two road-course races last season.

Greg Biffle: Has finished in the top 10 in three of his last four Sonoma starts. Like his teammates, Biffle will look to rebound from a disappointing outing at Michigan with a good run at Sonoma after testing at Virginia Motorsports Park. Biffle's car (chassis No. 916) for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 is new to the Roush Fenway Racing stable.

Tony Stewart: Has finished in the top 10 three times in his five Sonoma starts with Stewart-Haas Racing, including two runner-up efforts. Stewart's last of two wins came in 2005 with Joe Gibbs Racing and his 12.0 average finish ranks second among drivers that have raced in 15 or more races. Not only did Stewart take part in the Goodyear Tire test in March, but he also tested at Road Atlanta last month in the same car (chassis No. 874) he's racing this weekend.

Austin Dillon: Will be making his first road-course Sprint Cup Series start this weekend. Dillon will get some extra track time by running in Saturday's K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma. Dillon tested at Virginia International Raceway and will debut a new car (chassis No. 469) for the weekend.

Brian Vickers: Best finishes in eight starts have come in his two Sonoma starts with Michael Waltrip Racing, fourth and 13th. Vickers will return in the same car (chassis No. 772) that he participated in the Goodyear Tire test with back in March.

Kasey Kahne: Coming off third top 10 in his last five Sonoma starts, which include a win in 2009. Kahne has posted a 10.0 average finish in two starts with Hendrick Motorsports and will debut a new car (chassis No. 876) in Sunday's race.

Jamie McMurray: Won the pole and finished 25th at Sonoma last season. McMurray's lone top 10 in 11 starts came in 2004.

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Driver Races Avg Start Avg Finish *Driver Rating
Marcos Ambrose 6 4.5 11.8 108.0
Kurt Busch 13 10.1 16.0 107.8
Tony Stewart 15 11.1 12.0 102.4
Jeff Gordon 21 7.5 8.2 101.6
Jimmie Johnson 12 16.3 13.4 97.3
Clint Bowyer 8 15.6 9.1 95.2
Kyle Busch 9 16.7 20.4 88.0
Ryan Newman 12 12.5 13.1 88.0
Carl Edwards 9 17.8 15.6 86.8
Martin Truex Jr. 8 16.4 19.1 86.5
Kasey Kahne 10 11.3 20.4 84.3
Jamie McMurray 11 13.7 17.8 83.5
Kevin Harvick 13 16.3 15.6 82.7
Greg Biffle 11 15.3 14.3 82.4
Boris Said 14 16.4 20.6 80.9
Joey Logano 5 11.0 15.8 80.1
Denny Hamlin 8 20.3 22.9 78.9
Brad Keselowski 4 20.5 19.5 77.8
AJ Allmendinger 5 19.0 15.8 77.6
Matt Kenseth 14 18.4 20.7 76.3
Brian Vickers 8 23.9 19.1 74.8
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 14 21.3 21.5 68.3
Paul Menard 6 19.8 21.3 60.7
Casey Mears 10 28.2 19.3 59.9
David Gilliland 8 30.0 21.5 59.5
Aric Almirola 3 34.0 25.3 54.9
R. Stenhouse Jr. 1 37.0 27.0 50.1
David Ragan 7 34.7 28.6 49.4
Michael McDowell 2 36.0 25.5 47.4
Joe Nemechek 16 21.0 29.5 43.6
Josh Wise 2 37.5 31.0 43.4
Danica Patrick 1 31.0 29.0 43.0
J.J. Yeley 5 37.8 31.0 42.8
Reed Sorenson 3 32.7 36.3 41.3
Landon Cassill 1 42.0 31.0 37.7
Alex Kennedy 1 39.0 40.0 33.5
Justin Allgaier 0 - - -
Michael Annett 0 - - -
Alex Bowman 0 - - -
Austin Dillon 0 - - -
Kyle Larson 0 - - -
Ryan Truex 0 - - -
Cole Whitt 0 - - -
* Last 9 races

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