Toyota/Save Mart 350 Pit Notes

Stewart won in 2016
Stewart won in 2016

The following are some notes of interest in advance of this weekend’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway, June 23-25:

  • This will be Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final NASCAR Cup race at Sonoma Raceway, as he will retire from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at the end of the 2017 race season. In 17 starts, Earnhardt has posted two top-10 finishes in Sonoma, including a best finish of third in 2014.
  • NASCAR unveiled an enhanced three-stage race format for 2017, with championship implications in each stage. The stages for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 will be 25 laps, 25 laps and 60 laps.
  • Tony Stewart ended an 84-race winless streak and posted the final victory of his Cup Series career last year in Sonoma. It was the third wine country victory for Stewart, who took the lead in a last-turn pass on Denny Hamlin. Contact from Stewart's car sent Hamlin into the outside wall, but Hamlin held the runner-up spot for his best-ever Sonoma finish.
  • Kurt Busch is the active driver with the most top-five finishes in Sonoma (7).
  • Race weekend will also feature the 64-lap Carneros 200 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race on Saturday, June 24 at 1:30 p.m. (Pacific). Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick are expected to compete.
  • Sonoma has hosted 10 different winners over the past 12 years. Kyle Busch is the only active driver to repeat as race winner during that span.
  • Jeff Gordon is the only driver to win five NASCAR races in Sonoma (1998 – 2000, ‘04, ‘06). Tony Stewart won three Sonoma races (‘01, ’05, ‘16), and there are four two-time winners: Ernie Irvan, (‘92, ‘94), Ricky Rudd (‘89, ‘02), Rusty Wallace (‘90, ‘96) and Kyle Busch (’08, ’15).
  • Brothers Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch finished 1-2, respectively, at Sonoma Raceway in 2015; it marked the first time the brothers ever finished 1-2 in NASCAR Cup Series competition.
  • Elk Grove native Kyle Larson set the raceway’s qualifying record at 96.568 mph (74.186); June 27, 2015. Clint Bowyer holds the record for fastest race winner with an average speed of 83.624 mph (2012).
  • Juan Pablo Montoya holds the track record for the greatest winning improvement when he started 32nd and went on to win in 2007. He was the first rookie ever to win a NASCAR Cup event in Sonoma.
  • Terry Labonte and Michael Waltrip share the track record for the biggest improvement from qualifying to finish at 36 positions. In 2002, Labonte started 39th and finished third. Waltrip started 40th and finished fourth in 2004.
  • Ernie Irvan (1994), Mark Martin (1997) and Jeff Gordon (1998, ‘99 and 2004) are the only drivers to win a race starting from the pole.

Track Facts

  • The raceway has installed nearly 200 feet of Humboldt Redwood stand-up bars under the main grandstand and at the raceway’s newest fan entertainment area, The RevZone at Turn 7. These stand-up bars offer a shaded location under the grandstand or a picturesque view above Turn 7 to enjoy the variety of food options and beverages at the raceway. Fans will also be able to sit at one of 14 new redwood picnic tables under the main grandstand.
  • In 2016, Sonoma Raceway installed more than 5,000 square feet of high-resolution, full LED Panasonic screens. An 85-foot tall, four-sided LED scoring tower has replaced the outdated lap/leader board above Turn 1 of the road course, and an 84- x 12-foot Panasonic LED screen has been added to the front of the three-story Drag Tower building.
  • The Sonoma Raceway road course features more than 160 feet of elevation change from its highest point (Turn 3a, 174 feet) to its lowest point (Turn 10, 14 feet).
  • The berms on the turns of the road course are painted blue and gold at the suggestion of raceway President and General Manager Steve Page, who attended UC Berkeley.
  • The property on which the raceway was built was a working farm called Sears Point Farm in the early 1900s.
  • In 2011, in a partnership with Panasonic Corporation of North America, the raceway completed a solar installation of nearly 1,700 solar panels, which offsets approximately 41% of the raceway’s energy usage.
  • Drivers who complete the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race will make 1,100 turns around the road course. The race spans 110 laps.
  • Nearly 3,000 sheep, housed at the raceway and provided by Rocky Mountain Wooly Weeders, provide natural land care, helping to maintain the facility’s grasses and fire lanes.
  • Winners in Sonoma celebrate with a sip from the Champion’s Goblet in Sunoco Victory Lane. The goblet, which is handcrafted by a local glass blower from Oakland, was introduced in 2006 and incorporates the raceway’s rich wine country heritage.

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Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

WHAT: Toyota/Save Mart 350

WHEN: June 23-25

2016 POLE WINNER: Carl Edwards (Joe Gibbs Racing)

2016 RACE WINNER: Tony Stewart (Tony Stewart and Gene Haas)

NOTABLE: The weekend also feature Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying and the Carneros 200 NASCAR Pro Series West race on Saturday.

TICKETS: $25-$140 single day/$95-$180 weekend; parking is FREE; kids 12 and under FREE on Friday and Saturday. Military and group discounts available.

INFORMATION: 800-870-RACE, sonomaraceway.com/nascar or ticketmaster.com

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