Driver Handicaps: Sonoma

NASCAR

AJ Allmendinger (led the most laps in 2014) and Jamie McMurray (two-time defending pole winner) are among the drivers that are looking to become the 11th different winner in consecutive races at Sonoma. (Photo: Getty Images)

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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 nine starts.
• Jimmie Johnson has finished in the top 10 in the last six races, including a win in 2010.
• Clint Bowyer has finished in the top 10 in the last four races, including a win in 2012.
• Kurt Busch won in 2011 and holds the best Driver Rating in the last 10 races.
• Carl Edwards has finished third or better in three of the last four races, including a win last season.
• Kasey Kahne, who won in 2009, has finished sixth in his last two starts.
• Martin Truex Jr. won the 2013 race and ranks third in laps led (67) in the last five races.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Sonoma
• AJ Allmendinger, who led a race-high 35 laps last season at Sonoma up until sustaining damage, won at Watkins Glen last year and will be back in that same car.
• Kevin Harvick led 23 laps in first Sonoma start with Stewart-Haas Racing last season, but a slow pit stop and damage relegated him to a 20th-place finish.
• Greg Biffle has finished in the top 10 in four of his last five starts at Sonoma.
• Two-time Sonoma winner Tony Stewart has two runner-up finishes in his six track starts with Stewart-Haas Racing.
• Jamie McMurray will be going for his third straight pole at Sonoma. He finished fourth last season.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. recorded his first top 10 at Sonoma last year with a third-place finish.
• Joey Logano has posted a 10.0 average finish in his last four road course starts (Sonoma and Watkins Glen).
• Kyle Busch, winner of the 2008 race, is the only driver not already mentioned that is part of the 10 different winners in the last 10 races. However, Busch has not finished in the top 10 since that win.
• Austin Dillon and Trevor Bayne will each run in Saturday's NASCAR K&N race to gain more experience at Sonoma.

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

Qualifying Facts - Note: Second Race at the Track Under "Knockout" Format

*Poles
*Best Starting Avg. 
Races Won from Starting Pos.
Jeff Gordon - 5
Kyle Larson - 3.0
Pole - 5 times
Jamie McMurray - 3
Jeff Gordon - 7.8
Top Five - 15 times 
Kasey Kahne - 2
Kurt Busch - 9.7
Top 10 - 19 times 
Kurt Busch - 1 Joey Logano - 10.8
Top 15 - 24 times
Joey Logano, Tony Stewart - 1 Tony Stewart - 11.7
Worst - 32nd, one time

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

Top "Knockout" Qualifying Performers (*47 of 50 Races Contested) 2014-15 
Driver Poles Final Rounds
Kevin Harvick 9 37
Brad Keselowski 5 39
Joey Logano 5 39
Jeff Gordon 5 35
Denny Hamlin 4 25
Matt Kenseth 4 21
Kurt Busch 3 25
Kyle Busch 3 24
Jamie McMurray 2 23
Carl Edwards 1 29
Jimmie Johnson 1 26
Kyle Larson 1 21
Kasey Kahne 1 20
Tony Stewart 1 18

* - In 2014, qualifying was rained out at Richmond 1 and Chicagoland (not reflected in stats), and shortened at Daytona (David Gilliland pole winner). Restrictor-Plate qualifying starting at Talladega with single-car format in the spring of 2015 also not included and reflected in the total amount of races.

*Best Average Finish at Sonoma

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Jeff Gordon/Carl Edwards
2.0
Four Races
Jeff Gordon
3.0
Six Races
Jeff Gordon 4.3
Eight Races
Jeff Gordon
4.5
10 Races
Jeff Gordon 7.0

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

Sonoma Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2014, 10 Races)*

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Kurt Busch
1. Kyle Larson
1. Kurt Busch - 10.1
2. Tony Stewart
2. Tony Stewart
2. Tony Stewart - 11.9
3. Jeff Gordon
3. Clint Bowyer
3. Jimmie Johnson - 12.0
4. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Kurt Busch
4. Jeff Gordon - 12.1
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Brian Vickers
5. Clint Bowyer - 13.9
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating

1. Kurt Busch - 845

1. Jimmie Johnson - 277
1. Kurt Busch - 106.5
2. Jimmie Johnson - 819
2. Tony Stewart - 274
2. Jeff Gordon - 103.4
3. Tony Stewart - 773
3. Jeff Gordon - 266
3. Tony Stewart - 98.8
4. Jeff Gordon - 768
4. Kasey Kahne - 242
4. Jimmie Johnson - 98.8
5. Ryan Newman - 656
5. Clint Bowyer - 240
5. Clint Bowyer - 95.0

*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 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.


For a look at all the pre-race Loop Data for Sonoma, Click Here to view the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Pre-Race Loop Data Book.

Season Loop Data Leaders

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Kevin Harvick
1. Kevin Harvick
1. Kevin Harvick - 5.4
2. Kurt Busch
2. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Kurt Busch - 7.5
3. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Jimmie Johnson
3. Martin Truex Jr. - 8.7
4. Brad Keselowski
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Matt Kenseth - 11.2
5. Joey Logano
5. Kasey Kahne
5. Kasey Kahne - 11.4
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Kevin Harvick - 4289
1. Denny Hamlin - 1182
1. Kevin Harvick - 126.0
2. Martin Truex Jr. - 3980
2. Carl Edwards - 1169
2. Kurt Busch - 111.2
3. Matt Kenseth - 3821
3. Martin Truex Jr. - 1165
3. Martin Truex Jr. - 109.7
4. Kasey Kahne - 3752
4. Jeff Gordon - 1079
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 101.5
5. Joey Logano - 3609
5. Jimmie Johnson - 1059
5. Jimmie Johnson - 101.4

*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: Kurt Busch
Pete Pistone: Kevin Harvick
John Singler: Jeff Gordon

Driver Notes - Ordered by Top 20 in Average Finish (More than one start) in Last Five Races at Sonoma 

Jeff Gordon: Leads all drivers in a number of statistical categories at Sonoma including wins (five), average finish (8.0), top fives (14), top 10s (18), laps led (457) and poles (five). Gordon has finished ninth or better in every race dating back to his last win in 2006, including two runner-up finishes in the last two races.

Jimmie Johnson: Has finished in the top 10 in his last six starts, including a win in 2010. Johnson has also finished in the top 10 in three of his last four road course starts (Sonoma and Watkins Glen).

Kasey Kahne: Coming off fourth top 10 in his last six starts, which includes a win in 2009 with Richard Petty Motorsports. Kahne has posted an 8.7 average finish in three starts at Sonoma with Hendrick Motorsports.

Clint Bowyer: Has finished in the top 10 in his last four starts, including a win in 2012. A 27th-place finish last year at Watkins Glen snapped Bowyer's streak of five consecutive top 10s at road courses (Sonoma and Watkins Glen).

Kurt Busch: Has finished fourth or better in three of his last four starts, including a win in 2011 when he drove for Team Penske. Busch finished 12th last year in his first track start with Stewart-Haas Racing and will debut a new car (chassis No. 942) in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

Greg Biffle: Has finished in the top 10 in his last three starts. Biffle ranks third in average finish (9.0) among drivers that have raced in all six of the last road course races (Sonoma and Watkins Glen).

Carl Edwards: Has finished third or better in three of the last four races, including a win last year. Edwards has finished in the top five on the last four road course races (Sonoma and Watkins Glen) and leads all drivers with an 8.0 average finish in the last six races at the two tracks.

Kevin Harvick: Led 23 laps in first track start with Stewart-Haas Racing last season, but a slow pit stop and damage relegated him to a 20th-place finish. Harvick, who finished in the top 10 at Sonoma five times driving for Richard Childress Racing, will return in the same car (chassis No. 873) that he raced at Sonoma last season and at Watkins Glen where he finished seventh.

Joey Logano: Has posted an average finish of 13.5 in two track starts with Team Penske. Logano's two top 10s at Sonoma came with Joe Gibbs Racing with his best finish coming in 2011 from the pole, in sixth.

Jamie McMurray: Is coming off two consecutive poles and a fourth-place finish last year. McMurray's finish in 2014 marked his second top five in 12 starts.

Paul Menard: Is coming off his first top 10 (fifth) in seven starts. The finish was also his first top 10 in 18 overall starts at a road course (Sonoma and Watkins Glen). This weekend, Menard will debut a new car (chassis No. 470) in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

Ryan Newman: Finished 11th last season in first track start with Richard Childress Racing. Newman's last of five top 10s came in 2008 when he raced with Team Penske. This weekend, Newman will pilot a new car (chassis No. 514) in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

Austin Dillon: Finished 17th last season in first track start. Dillon, who will also run the K&N West race this weekend at Sonoma, will return in the same car (chassis No. 469) that he posted a 16.5 average finish in both road course races last season (Sonoma and Watkins Glen).

Martin Truex Jr.: Finished 15th in first track start with Furniture Row Racing last season. Truex won the 2013 race driving for Michael Waltrip Racing. This weekend, Truex will look to continue his strong start to the season where he has finished in the top 10 in 14 of the 15 races this season.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Is coming off his first top 10 in 15 starts. The finish was his fourth top 10 in 30 overall road course starts (Sonoma and Watkins Glen).

AJ Allmendinger: Led a race-high 35 laps last season, but finished 37th after getting involved in a late race accident. Allmendinger will be looking for his second straight road course win driving a JTG Daugherty Racing house car, the same won he won with at Watkins Glen.

Tony Stewart: Has finished in the top 10 three times in his six 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 12.4 average finish ranks second among drivers that have raced in 15 or more races. This weekend, Stewart will return in the same car (chassis No. 874) that he finished 19th with at Sonoma following a pit-road speeding penalty.

Casey Mears: Has posted a 14.7 average finish in his last three starts. Mears' last top 10 in 22 overall road course starts came at Sonoma in 2008 when he drove for Hendrick Motorsports.

Brad Keselowski: Has posted a 20.0 average finish in five starts. Keselowski's lone top 10 came in 2011, in 10th. He does own three second-place finishes at Watkins Glen.

David Gilliland: Has posted a 21.4 average finish in nine starts. His best finish in five track starts with Front Row Motorsports is 12th, in 2011. Gilliland did finish second in 2008 when he drove for Yates Racing.

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Untitled Document Sonoma Driver Stats
Driver Races Avg Start Avg Finish *Driver Rating
Kurt Busch 14 9.7 15.7 106.5
Jeff Gordon 22 7.8 8.0 103.4
Tony Stewart 16 11.7 12.4 98.8
Jimmie Johnson 13 16.7 12.9 98.8
Clint Bowyer 9 16.7 9.2 95.0
Carl Edwards 10 16.4 14.1 90.1
Ryan Newman 13 12.1 12.9 88.4
Jamie McMurray 12 12.7 16.7 87.8
Martin Truex Jr. 9 16.6 18.7 86.1
Kasey Kahne 11 13.0 19.1 85.5
Kyle Busch 10 17.0 20.9 85.3
Kevin Harvick 14 15.6 15.9 84.6
Greg Biffle 12 15.6 13.8 82.8
AJ Allmendinger 6 16.2 19.3 81.9
Joey Logano 6 10.8 15.8 79.4
Denny Hamlin 9 19.8 23.2 77.4
Boris Said 15 18.1 21.6 76.2
Matt Kenseth 15 18.1 22.1 75.4
Kyle Larson 1 3.0 28.0 74.2
Brad Keselowski 5 19.0 20.0 73.9
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 15 21.0 20.3 72.1
Paul Menard 7 18.3 19.0 65.4
Austin Dillon 1 26.0 17.0 65.3
Casey Mears 11 26.7 18.7 62.4
David Gilliland 9 29.7 21.4 59.7
Aric Almirola 4 32.8 24.8 56.7
Danica Patrick 2 21.0 23.5 56.3
R. Stenhouse Jr. 2 30.5 29.0 54.1
Michael McDowell 3 33.3 25.0 50.7
Cole Whitt 1 32.0 27.0 49.2
David Ragan 8 34.3 29.5 48.3
Alex Bowman 1 38.0 29.0 44.7
Justin Marks 1 36.0 30.0 43.8
Sam Hornish Jr. 3 24.7 35.0 42.3
J.J. Yeley 6 38.0 31.5 41.0
Michael Annett 1 42.0 30.0 40.2
Josh Wise 3 36.0 34.0 39.7
Justin Allgaier 1 35.0 33.0 39.6
Alex Kennedy 2 37.5 39.5 33.9
Landon Cassill 2 39.5 37.0 31.8
Trevor Bayne 0 - - -
Jeb Burton 0 - - -
Matt DiBenedetto 0 - - -
Brendan Gaughan 1 33.0 26.0 -
* Last 10 Races

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