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Race Preview and Fantasy Picks: Toyota/Save Mart 350

By admin | June 18, 2009

By Richard Allen

Track and Location:
Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California

Track Layout: 1.99 mile ten turn road course

Race Distance:
110 laps/350K

Date of Race: Sunday(June 21, 2009)

Radio Coverage:
PRN(4:00pm Eastern)

Television Coverage:
TNT(4:30pm Eastern)

Start Time:
5:20pm Eastern

Last Year’s Winner:
Kyle Busch

Here are some thoughts for the Toyota/Save Mart 350:

NASCAR makes its first of two ventures into the world of left AND right turns this week in Sonoma. Look for a few drivers to simply be better at this type of racing than everybody else. And look for a lot of those ‘everybody elses’ to spend some time in the dirt.

I, for one, used to hate road course racing with stock cars. However, I have grown to like it much better in recent years. It is something new and different from the ‘cookie cutters’.

One thing to look for is that for the third week in a row this race could be determined by fuel mileage. Teams often look to be the first to make their last pit stop in order to gain track position. If the cautions are timed just right, there could be more coasting in on fumes like in Pocono and Michigan.

Drivers who should do well: Driving big, heavy stock cars on a road course is no easy thing to do. Drivers either can or they can’t. It seems as if there is no in between.

Kyle Busch-
I never thought of him as a road course driver but he won here last year to prove he can win on any type track.

Juan Pablo Montoya-
He comes from a road course background and his only Sprint Cup win came here as a rookie. He has been getting better every week of late.

Jeff Gordon-
A very smooth road racer for NASCAR. Has won here five times in the past but one has to wonder what the ‘to and fro’ of a road course might do to his back.

Marcos Ambrose-
Last year he had the Wood Brothers in the Top 5 until mechanical trouble set in. He won on a road course in the Nationwide Series.

Tony Stewart-
For a guy who grew up racing sprint cars he has turned into one of the top road racers in stock cars.

Clint Bowyer- A little surprising but he has two Top 5s here in three starts.

Drivers to avoid:
See ‘Drivers who should do well’.

Robby Gordon-
He is one of the best road course racers in the world but for some reason he does not do well on this track. Even with one win here his average finish is only 22nd.

Matt Kenseth- He is one of the drivers who has not taken to road racing. Average finish here is 22nd.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.-
Has never scored a Top 10 on this track.

Brian Vickers-
Never had a Top 10 here.

Martin Truex-
Never had a Top 10 here.

Winner of the Toyota/Save Mart 350: Juan Pablo Montoya

These are only suggestions. Do your own research and enjoy the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

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