CONCORD, N.C. – The NASCAR Cup Series is West Coast-bound for road course racing at Sonoma Raceway this weekend.
At the 1.99-mile, 10-turn track, Hendrick Motorsports leads all teams with six wins, nine poles, six runner-up results, 30 top-five finishes, 52 top-10s and 650 laps led.
Here’s a closer look at how the organization has performed at the California venue over the years.
- Of the 29 races in which it has competed at Sonoma, Hendrick Motorsports has earned at least one top-10 finish in all but two. In addition, at least one Hendrick Motorsports driver has finished inside the top 10 in each of the last 12 races at the track, the longest active streak by a team.
- In addition to leading all teams in wins at Sonoma Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports’ 15 total road course race victories is also a NASCAR Cup Series record. Jeff Gordon earned nine of those victories, leading all drivers all-time.
- Gordon also leads all drivers in wins at Sonoma, earning five of his nine road course wins at the venue close to his hometown of Vallejo, California. His five poles, five runner-up finishes, 14 top-five finishes, 18 top-10s, 457 laps led and 8.3 average finish are also records at the California track.
- In two career Cup Series starts at Sonoma Raceway, Chase Elliott averages a starting position of 12.0 and finishing position of 14.5, including a top-10 finish at the track last season. He also got behind the wheel of the No. 24 Chevrolet in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma in 2016, starting from the pole position, leading nine laps and winning the 64-lap event.
- William Byron will make his first Cup Series start at Sonoma Raceway this weekend, but the driver has experience on the 1.99-mile road course in the 2015 K&N Pro Series West race. In his first road course race in a stock car, Byron earned a fifth-place result after starting second in the 64-lap event. Byron has run seven road course races across three different NASCAR series – Xfinity, Truck and K&N Pro – earning top-10 finishes in all but one of those events.
- The No. 24 could bring the driver the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 luck this weekend at Sonoma. On June 24, 2017, Byron earned his first Xfinity Series win at Iowa Speedway. On June 24, 2007, Juan Pablo Montoya became the first and only Cup rookie ever to win on a road course when he won at Sonoma in the No. 42. The No. 24 car has five Sonoma wins, the most of all numbers – courtesy of Gordon. The winners of both races on road courses last year led 24 laps en route to victory. No. 24 team crew chief Darian Grubb got his only Cup win on a road course at Watkins Glen in August 2009, when Tony Stewart passed Kyle Busch for the win with 24 laps to go.
- Jimmie Johnson has 16 starts at Sonoma with an average starting position of 16.8 and average finish of 12.5. The driver earned his only Sonoma win in 2010, when he led 55 laps of the 110-mile event en route to the victory. In his last nine starts at the track, the driver has a 7.22 average finish, which is the best mark among all drivers to compete in all nine races. Johnson is also the only driver to finish inside the top 15 in all of the last nine races at the track.
- Alex Bowman has two career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Sonoma Raceway, with his best finish of 29th coming back in 2014. In addition, the 25-year-old ran three NASCAR Xfinity Series events in 2013 on road courses. Bowman finished 13th at Watkins Glen International, 11th at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and 24th at Road America.
- No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives has called the shots three times at the California track. The Michigan native has two top-10 finishes and one finish just outside the top 10 in 11th.
- Fourteen different drivers have won their first career Cup Series race in road course events, but only one driver has accomplished the feat at Sonoma Raceway. Elliott, Byron and Bowman all have the chance to become the second driver to earn their first career win at the California venue this weekend.