Early Week Driver Rankings for Sonoma


The NASCAR Cup Series will travel across the country this week to Northern California. The race at Sonoma is always my favorite road course on the schedule. I was able to attend this race in 2012 and television does not show how elevated this track is. Sonoma is a more technical racetrack than many of the other road courses on the schedule. The true “road course aces” typically excel at this track. It should be a fun race to watch.

The Toyota / Save Mart 350 is the second road course on the Cup Series schedule (COTA was the first). This race will likely be a bit different from what we have seen in the past at Sonoma. Stage breaks are eliminated this week (but Stage Points are still awarded), so that will make strategy a bit more difficult. Crew Chiefs will have to predict if there will be a caution or should they pit early to gain track position. Pit strategy will still be the key to winning at Sonoma, but the elimination of the Stage breaks will make the strategy tougher for crew chiefs and it will bring more drivers into play Sunday.

There are a group of drivers who excel on the road courses and then there are a group of drivers who excel at Sonoma. Kyle Larson, William Byron, Ross Chastain, Tyler Reddick and Kyle Busch have good stats on the road courses but have not had a lot of success at Sonoma. Daniel Suarez, Michael McDowell, Chris Buescher and Austin Cindric have had success at Sonoma. There are also drivers who run well at Sonoma and the other road course (Chase Elliott, AJ Allmendinger). I will use the stats from all of the road courses for the driver rankings this week, but I will give a bump to the drivers who typically run up front at this track.

Here are my early week driver rankings for the Toyota / Save Mart 350

1. Chase Elliott
2. Tyler Reddick
3. Daniel Suarez
4. Chris Buescher
5. Austin Cindric
6. Kyle Larson
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Michael McDowell
9. AJ Allmendinger
10. Ryan Blaney
11. William Byron
12. Alex Bowman
13. Joey Logano
14. Kyle Busch
15. Martin Truex Jr.
16. Austin Dillon
17. Ross Chastain
18. Chase Briscoe
19. Brad Keselowski
20. Christopher Bell
21. Denny Hamlin
22. Ty Gibbs
23. Erik Jones
24. Justin Haley
25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
26. Aric Almirola
27. Ryan Preece
28. Harrison Burton
29. Noah Gragson
30. Zane Smith
31. Bubba Wallace
32. Corey LaJoie
33. Todd Gilliland
34. Andy Lally
35. Ty Dillon
36. Josh Bilicki


Be sure to check back Saturday night for the updated Driver Rankings for the race Sunday.


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