TOP TEN DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

TOP 10: RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS

  1. DALE EARNHARDT Jr. #88
  2. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  3. RYAN NEWMAN #31
  4. CLINT BOWYER #15
  5. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  6. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  7. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  8. GREG BIFFLE #16
  9. CASEY MEARS #13
  10. MARTIN TRUEX #78

Top drivers 10 on Restrictor Plate tracks, Thursday look for our Top 30 rankings for Sunday’s COKE ZERO 400 from Daytona Int Speedway.

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RACE PREVIEW

DAY 13.2

COKE ZERO (Firecracker) 400

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

JULY 5th, 7:30PM on NBC-TV

2.5 MILES, 31 Degrees of Banking

If it is 4th of July it must be time for the Firecracker 400 – oops make that the Coke Zero 400. Whatever you call it, nothing says summer like this race. I remember many a 4th listening to this race on the radio wherever I was. I remember even more vividly sweating profusely in the stands at Daytona on a couple of very hot July race weekends. As much as I revere tradition, I fully supported the idea to change this to a night race. Not only does it add to any holiday weekend to have a night race, it makes it a much more comfortable race to attend. This year for the first time it will be on Sunday night and not the night before. Under the lights this race shines. This is our third restrictor plate race of the year and we have eleven different winners in sixteen races so far this year. There is a very good chance that we’ll have a first-time winner at this race – after all it was four years ago that Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500 in a partial-season ride and David Ragan had his first win later that year at the 400. Trevor’s win was the start of a three race streak for Ford and Roush Yates motors. The Hendrick Motorsports engine shop then had four straight wins with their Chevrolet. Ford and Roush Yates came back with two more wins, one from Richard Petty Motorsports and one from Team Penske. It’ll be Roush Yates- Ford vs. HMS-Chevy on Sunday night. Will we see anything from Toyota? And will we see a 12th winner for the season or a return victor to Victory Lane? We’ll know Sunday night.

Tuesday look for our Top 10 drivers on restrictor plate tracks in advance of the Coke Zero 400, Thursday we’ll rank the Top 30 drivers for that race.

TOP FIVE DRIVERS

TOP 5 DRIVERS TO WATCH: SONOMA RACEWAY

The #5 driver, is my #1 road course driver, #15 Clint Bowyer. Clint is not usually thought of as a top road course driver, but his history racing on dirt tracks has helped him to be successful here. He won here three years ago  and in his nine starts, has that one win, as well as five Top 5’s.

My #4 driver is the hottest driver over the last six weeks, #78 Martin Truex. Martin won here two years ago helping to make him my #5 ranked road course driver. Martin is not only #1 hottest but sits #2 in points. He is having a good solid season and should see that continue here.

The #3 driver to watch is another former winner – a five-time former winner, #24 Jeff Gordon. Jeff has five wins here with the last coming in 2006.  He has 22 starts, those 5 wins, and 14 Top 5 finishes. Jeff’s last nine races here were all Top 10’s and six of those were Top 5’s. Jeff also has the #1 best average finish.

My #2 pick won here five years ago, #48 Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie has 13 starts here, one win, and four Top 5’s, which is why Jimmie has the #2 average finish. Jimmie is #4 hottest over the last six weeks.

My #1 driver to watch has really seen his season turn around, #41 Kurt Busch. He sat out the first three races of the year and now he sits #4 in points and looks like he’ll make the “Chase for the Cup”. He has 14 starts with a 2011 win and six Top 5 finishes.

Monday look for our preview of the Coke Zero 400 from Daytona Int. Speedway.

TOP 30 DRIVERS

TOYOTA/SAVE MART 350:SONOMA RACEWAY

  1. KURT BUSCH #41
  2. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  3. JEFF GORDON #24
  4. MARTIN TRUEX #78
  5. CLINT BOWYER #15
  6. JOEY LOGANO #22
  7. CARL EDWARDS #19
  8. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  9. KASEY KAHNE #5
  10. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  11. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1
  12. PAUL MENARD #27
  13. GREG BIFFLE #16
  14. DALE EARNHARDT JR #88
  15. RYAN NEWMAN #31
  16. MATT KENSETH #20
  17. CASEY MEARS #13
  18. A. J. ALLMENDINGER #47
  19. DANICA PATRICK #10
  20. ARIC ALMIROLA #43
  21. KYLE LARSON #42
  22. TONY STEWART #14
  23. KYLE BUSCH #18
  24. AUSTIN DILLION #3
  25. SAM HORNISH #9
  26. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  27. DAVID GILLILAND #38
  28. RICKY STENHOUSE #17
  29. DAVID RAGAN #55
  30. BORIS SAID #32

Friday we break down the Top 5 drivers to watch in Sunday’s Save Mart/Toyota 350 from Sonoma.

TOP TEN TEAMS

TOP 10 TEAMS POST MICHIGAN

  1. TEAM PENSKE
  2. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS
  3. FURNITURE ROW RACING
  4. CHIP GANASSI RACING
  5. STEWART HAAS RACING
  1. JOE GIBBS RACING
  2. RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING
  3. RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS
  4. GERMAIN RACING
  5. MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING

For the second week in a row Team Penske are #1. Hendrick Motorsports stay at #2. Furniture Row Racing remain at #3. Chip Ganassi Racing trade places with Stewart Haas Racing. Joe Gibbs Racing hold at #6. Richard Childress Racing move up a place to #7. Richard Petty Motorsports move from #9-#8. Germain Racing drop back two places. Michael Waltrip Racing hang in the Top 10.

These are the Top 10 Teams going into Sonoma, Thursday look for our Top30 drivers at Sonoma Raceway.

TOP TEN DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

TOP 10: ROAD COURSE TRACKS

  1. CLINT BOWYER #15
  2. JOEY LOGANO #22
  3. CARL EDWARDS #19
  4. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  5. MARTIN TRUEX #78
  6. KURT BUSCH #41
  7. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  8. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  9. GREG BIFFLE #16
  10. JEFF GORDON #24

Top 10 Drivers on Road Course tracks, Thursday look for our Top 30 rankings for Sunday’s Toyota/SavMart 350 from Sonoma Raceway.

RACE PREVIEW

INF9

TOYOTA SAVE MART 350

SONOMA RACEWAY

Jun 28th, 3:00PM ET on FOX Sports 1-TV

1.99 Miles 10 turns

Twice a year NASCAR makes a detour from the standard oval and gets its swerve on – on a road course. No more just turn left and go. Instead of going counter-clockwise like you would on an oval, road courses go clockwise and twist and turn the whole way. Here at Sonoma Raceway the drivers have 10 turns on an almost 2 mile course in a truly beautiful part of California. We can expect some new faces as road racing regulars from non-NASCAR series insert themselves into the fray. Most of these will be drivers who will replace cup drivers who don’t feel up to the road course challenge. Eleven drivers starting this race have previously won a road course at the Sprint Cup level. Interestingly, Jeff Gordon won here in 2006 – for the fifth time, but since that fifth win we have had a stretch of first time winners here. Eight first time winners in a row! Will we have another first time winner here? We’ll know on Sunday.

Tuesday June 23, look for our Top 10 drivers on road course tracks.