NASCAR Toyota/Save Mart 350 Free Racing Picks & Expert Best Bets
NASCAR action returns after a week off and the action will be coming at you fast, and a bit different as they make their first trip to a road course this season. NASCAR’s best take on the many turns of the Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. The drivers are in wine country, for the Toyota/Save Mart 350. A new twist will make for a very intriguing race, as for the first time since 1997, the Carousel section of the course returns to the Monster Energy Cup Series. It returns the track to its historic 12-turn layout. Martin Truex Jr is the defending winner of the event and could be a strong contender once again, but a driver to watch is Chase Elliott, who has shown he can be a strong road course racer, proven by his win last season at Watkins Glen. Shockingly Kyle Busch isn’t the favorite for this race, that honor goes to Kevin Harvick. Harvick a former winner at the track, and a California native could be in a position to finally get his first win of the season.
Five drivers to back in Sonoma
Kevin Harvick +350
The favorite for Sunday’s race, Kevin Harvick just hasn’t been able to get his number 4 car to victory lane so far this season. That could change if he can stay near the front of the field much as he did in his victory at Sonoma back in 2017. In six of the last nine Sonoma races, Harvick was able to finish in the top 10. Harvick has also led laps in each of the last three races at the track, including 35 laps in last season’s race at Sonoma. It will be tough for Harvick given he only has five top-five finishes this season, but a return to his home state could be a good start, and he got his first win of the 2017 season at this very track. Look out for that four car on Sunday.
Martin Truex Jr +450
Martin Truex Jr seems to have a knack for road course races, as he finds his way to the front of the field on most occasions especially in his last few starts. It kind of has been a hit and miss deal for Truex at Sonoma where he has had races where he finished outside the top 15, but he also has had great success at the track with two wins at Sonoma, including winning last season’s race, along with leading 62 of the 110 laps. There hasn’t been a back-to-back winner at Sonoma Raceway since Jeff Gordon won three-in-a-row from 1998 to 2000. So that is quite on Truex side for Sunday’s race, but he is still a contender nonetheless.
Kyle Busch +600
Busch isn’t the favorite this week, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a contender for Sunday’s race. His last four starts at the track have been top 10 finishes, including back-to-back fifth-place finishes in the last two races at Sonoma. Add his pair of victories at the track and Busch knows how to get the job done in wine country. Kyle went to victory lane at Sonoma in 2008, and again in 2015. Between 2009 and 2014 it was a big struggle for Busch as his best finish was 11th in 2011. His last three starts he has only led five total laps at the track, and that could mean some trouble for Kyle.
Chase Elliott +600
Chase Elliott looks like he belongs on a road course, as he has improved in every start he has made at Sonoma. Add in his win last season at Watkins Glen and you could be looking at the next Jeff Gordon type racer on Road Courses. Elliott’s first start at Sonoma resulted in a 21st place finish, but since then he has posted top 10 finishes, including a 4th place finish in last season’s race. A Hendrick car hasn’t won at Sonoma since Jimmie Johnson in 2010, but nonetheless, Hendrick Motorsports has plenty of wins at the track, and with Chase’s ability, he could find himself in victory lane on Sunday. He has yet to lead a lap at the track, but don’t be shocked if he checks that off the list this weekend.
Clint Bowyer +600
Clint Bowyer is a great competitor, and NASCAR is at what is arguably and shockingly one of his best tracks. Bowyer a former winner at Sonoma, has had an up and down season so far, but nonetheless, Bowyer continues to dig. In his 13 career starts at Sonoma Bowyer has finished inside the top five eight times, along with a victory. He has finished in the top three in three of the last four Sonoma events. In those 13 starts, he failed to finish inside the top 10 only three times. two top five in the last four races on the season has given Bowyer a little bit of a confidence boost and he could return to victory lane for the first time this season, at a track he is very good at.