The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series goes road racing in Sonoma while the Gander Outdoors Truck Series heads to the St. Louis area this weekend.
The Toyota/SaveMart 350 is the first of races held at full road courses on the 2019 Cup Series schedule. Sunday‘s race marks the 31st time NASCAR‘s top division has visited the picturesque northern California road circuit with Ricky Rudd taking the inaugural victory in 1989.
There‘s a new twist to this year‘s race in Sonoma. Since 1998, NASCAR had competed on a shorter, 1.99-mile configuration of the circuit that bypassed “The Carousel” and connected turns four and seven into what was known as “The Chute.”
Sunday “The Carousel” returns and the 1.99-mile 10-turn road course grows into a 12-turn, 2.25-mile configuration. (Read More)
“I think it’ll be cool,” said Alex Bowman. “I’m all for new stuff. I think the race is going to be longer than normal and probably a little more challenging, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Even veteran drivers will be faced with the new challenge that hasn‘t been part of NASCAR racing in Sonoma for more than two decades.
“I’m not even old enough to have been on the carousel before,” said Kurt Busch. “It’ll be fun. I used to watch races all the time with them running the carousel and racing up the drag strip into Turn 7 is going to be a whole new element.”
Martin Truex Jr. is the defending race winner. Qualifying is set for Saturday afternoon immediately followed by a K&N Pro Series West race.
Meanwhile the Gander Outdoors Truck Series continues its busy early summer stretch with a visit to World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway just outside St. Louis. Saturday night‘s CarShield 200 (MRN, 9:30 p.m. ET) is the 11th race of the 2019 season.
The series comes to St. Louis after an eventful weekend at Iowa Speedway. Race winner Ross Chastain was disqualified when he truck was found to be too low in post inspection handing the victory to Brett Moffitt.
NASCAR also suspended driver Johnny Sauter for one race after his intentional crashing of Austin Hill while under caution last week in Iowa. Sauter remains playoff eligible thanks to his win earlier this season. Myatt Snider will drive the No. 13 Ford this weekend.
Grant Enfinger leads the series point standings on the strength of nine top-10 finishes in the season‘s first 10 races.
Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Harrison Burton is sixth in the standings and comes to Gateway off a pair of top-five Iowa runs in both the Truck Series and Xfinity Series.
“Anytime you come off good finishes, it makes you more excited for the next weekend because you want to advance a couple more spots and maybe get a win,” Burton explained.
“We‘re really excited for Gateway, we know we have a pretty good package there, so I‘m excited to go see how it drives. I‘ve never raced a truck there — but I do have some experience in an ARCA car there. I‘m excited to go drive around that place and figure it out.”