TOP FIVE DRIVERS TO WATCH

TOP FIVE DRIVERS SONOMA TOYOTA/SAVE MART 350

My #5 pick won here six years ago, #14 Clint Bowyer. Clint is the hot shoe from the hottest team. He just won at Michigan, his second of the year, his team Stewart Haas has more wins this year than any other team with seven. Here Clint has 12 starts, the win in 2012 and seven Top 5’s. He is #5 ranked on road courses.

The #4 driver is my #2 road course driver, #22 Joey Logano. Joey has nine starts here and only two Top 5’s, but he really is getting better. His two Top 5’s came in his last three stops here. He is ranked #2 on road courses and he is also #6 hottest over the last six weeks.

The #3 driver is a road course winner, and not just here he is one of three active drivers in the field to win at both road courses, #18 Kyle Busch. Kyle is the only active driver to score wins here and at Watkins Glen twice each. He won here three years ago and in his 13 starts has that win as well one in 2008. He is #1 in points, #2 hottest over the last six weeks and ranked #3 for me on road courses.

My #2 driver to watch is I believe the best driver on road courses or at least the most consistent, #41 Kurt Busch. He has 17 starts in Sonoma, a 2011 win and seven Top 5 finishes. He is my #1 rated Road course driver and his team Stewart Haas have won the last two straight races here. Kurt is currently the #4 hottest driver.

My #1 driver is the hottest driver on the circuit AND the defending champion of this race, #4 Kevin Harvick. Kevin won at the other road course, Watkins Glen in 2006, but had to wait til last year to win here in a cup race. Kevin from nearby Bakersfield did win here in the old Southwest tour in 1998 but you know he loved to getting that cup win. Kevin is ranked #4 on road courses and is #1 hottest over the last six weeks. In his 16 visits here he has five Top 5’s.

 

Monday look for our preview of the Overton’s 400from Chicagoland speedway.

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TOP 30 DRIVERS

TOYOTA/SAVE MART 350:SONOMA RACEWAY

 

  1. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  2. KURT BUSCH #41
  3. KYLE BUSCH #18
  4. JOEY LOGANO #22
  5. CLINT BOWYER #14
  6. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  7. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  8. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  9. CHASE ELLIOTT #9
  10. JAMIE MCMURRAY # 1
  11. PAUL MENARD #21
  12. RYAN BLANEY #12
  13. RYAN NEWMAN #31
  14. ERIK JONES #20
  15. KASEY KAHNE #5
  16. KYLE LARSON #42
  17. ARIC ALMIROLA #10
  18. MARTIN TRUEX #78
  19. DANIEL SUAREZ #19
  20. WILLIAM BYRON #24
  21. AUSTIN DILLION #3
  22. DARRELL WALLACE JR #43
  23. ALEX BOWMAN #88
  24. RICKY STENHOUSE #17
  25. CHRIS BUESCHER #37
  26. TREVOR BAYNE #6
  27. A. J. ALLMENDINGER #47
  28. TY DILLION #13
  29. MICHAEL MCDOWELL #95
  30. COLE WHITT #72

 

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. STEWART HAAS RACING (LW #1)
  2. FURNITURE ROW RACING (LW #2)
  3. TEAM PENSKE (LW #4)
  4. JOE GIBBS RACING (LW #3)
  5. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS (LW #5)

 

  1. CHIP GANASSI RACING (LW #6)
  2. WOOD BROTHERS RACING (LW #7)
  3. ROUSH FENWAY RACING (LW #8)
  4. RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING (LW #9)
  5. RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS (LW#10)

 

Stewart Haas Racing stay at #1 for the eighth straight week it is no surprise with the Clint Bowyer win and the second and third place finish from Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch. Furniture Row Racing stay at #2. Team Penske move up a place to #3 and that moves Joe Gibbs Racing to #4. The next six teams Hendrick Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing,  Wood Brothers Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Richard Childress Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports all remain in place this week.  A weekend of left AND right turns could shake things up. We’ll find out on Sunday.

 

These are the Top 10 Teams going into Sonoma, Thursday look for our Top 30 drivers at Sonoma Raceway.

TOP TEN DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

TOP 10: ROAD COURSE TRACKS

  1. KURT BUSCH #41
  2. JOEY LOGANO #22
  3. KYLE BUSCH #18
  4. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  5. CLINT BOWYER #14
  6. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1
  7. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  8. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  9. KASEY KAHNE #95
  10. CHASE ELLIOTT #9

 

 

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

TOP FIVE DRIVERS

toyotasavemart350_thumb

TOYOTA SAVE MART 350

SONOMA RACEWAY

June 24th, 3:00PM Charlotte Time FS 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. Ten drivers starting this race have previously won a road course at the Monster Energy Cup level. Seven have of them have won here and six have won at Watkins Glen, the other road course. Kyle Busch has won at both two times each. Martin Truex and Kevin Harvick each have a win at both tracks. Stewart Haas Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and the now defunct Michael Waltrip Racing have all won here twice in the last ten years. Toyota seems to have a road course advantage here with four wins in the last ten years, the most of any manufacturer. But Stewart Haas Fords have the last two wins here. Will Toyota keep the edge here in wine country? We’ll know on Sunday.

Tuesday, June 17,  look for our Top 10 drivers on road course tracks.

TOP FIVE DRIVERS

TOP 5 DRIVERS TO WATCH: MICHIGAN INT SPEEDWAY

My #5 driver is a former winner here, #4 Kevin Harvick. Kevin has 34 starts, one win, and ten Top 5’s. But this is the more important stat – half of his last ten finishes here were second places finishes. Seven of his last ten races here were Top 5’s. Never count Kevin Harvick out on a downforce track. He is #2 hottest and #4 on tracks like this.

My #4 driver is a two time former winner here, #22 Joey Logano. Joey has 18 starts, two wins, and five Top 5’s. Nine of his last ten races were Top 10’s and his five Top 5’s came in this stretch. Joey has a win that locks him in the playoffs so look for him to gamble on pit strategy towards the end of this race. The most over-used phrase of the weekend will be “track position.”

The #3 driver has the best average finish here, #9 Chase Elliott. Chase has yes, just four starts but three of them were second place finishes. In the last ten years or 20 races his team, Hendrick Motorsports won five races the most of any team. Their motor shop has nine wins in the last ten years.

The #2 driver is the most recent winner here, #42 Kyle Larson. Kyle has done pretty well here in his young career. He has eight starts five were Top 10’s and four were Top 5’s including the last three races that were all wins. An unbelievable three straight wins! He is #8 hottest over the last six races. He seems to have found the right touch here in the Irish Hills look for the lucky touch to find him here again.

My #1 driver to watch is my #1 rated driver on tracks like this, grew, #78 Martin Truex. Martin has never won here. In fact his stats are not that great. He has 24 starts, no wins, and just six Top 5’s. He finished 6th in this race last year and 2nd in the August race. Even more important is that he is #1 ranked on downforce tracks and got a big win at similar track Auto Club Speedway in March. Martin is #3 hottest over the last six races including his flat track win Sunday in Pocano.  

 

 

 

Monday look for our preview of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 from Sonoma.

TOP 30 DRIVERS

TOP 30 POWER RANKINGS:FIREKEEPERS CASINO 400

 

  1. MARTIN TRUEX #78
  2. KYLE LARSON #42
  3. CHASE ELLIOTT #9
  4. JOEY LOGANO #22
  5. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  6. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  7. KURT BUSCH #41
  8. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  9. ERIK JONES #20
  10. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1
  11. KYLE BUSCH #18
  12. MATT KENSETH #6
  13. AUSTIN DILLON #3
  14. RYAN NEWMAN #31
  15. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  16. RYAN BLANEY #12
  17. ARIC ALMIROLA #10
  18. PAUL MENARD #21
  19. RICKY STENHOUSE #17
  20. WILLIAM BYRON #24
  21. KASEY KAHNE #5
  22. CLINT BOWYER #14
  23. DANIEL SUAREZ #19
  24. DARRELL WALLACE #43
  25. TY DILLON #13
  26. A.J. ALLMENDINGER #47
  27. CHRIS BUESCHER #37
  28. ALEX BOWMAN #88
  29. DAVID RAGAN #38
  30. MICHAEL MCDOWELL #34

 

 

Friday we break down the Top 5 drivers for Sunday’s FIREKEEPERS CASINO 400.