SONOMA, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 06: Chase Briscoe, driver of the #14 Ford Performance Racing School Ford, Corey LaJoie, driver of the #7 Nations Guard Chevrolet, and Tyler Reddick, driver of the #8 Childress Vineyards Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 06, 2021 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) | Getty Images
SONOMA, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 06: Chase Briscoe, driver of the #14 Ford Performance Racing School Ford, Corey LaJoie, driver of the #7 Nations Guard Chevrolet, and Tyler Reddick, driver of the #8 Childress Vineyards Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 06, 2021 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) | Getty Images

NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Sonoma Raceway

NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Toyota/Save Mart 350
The Place: Sonoma Raceway
The Date: Sunday, June 11
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $8,054,721
TV: FOX, 3 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 218.9 miles (110 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 25), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 55), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 110)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: DoorDash 250
The Place: Sonoma Raceway
The Date: Saturday, June 10
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,545,934
TV: FS1, 7:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 156.95 miles (79 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 45), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 79)

Next Race: Rackley Roofing 200
The Place: Nashville Superspeedway
The Date: Friday, June 23
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
The Purse: TBA
TV: FS1, 7:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200 miles (150 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 95), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 150)

NASCAR Cup Series

Busch’s bid for a third title seems more and more likely

For the first time since 2010-2011, the Richard Childress Racing organization has put up back-to-back seasons (2022-2023) of at least three NASCAR Cup Series wins. Over the last two years, the one common denominator in the RCR Victory Lane celebrations has been crew chief Randall Burnett, who has led Tyler Reddick to three wins in 2022, and now has led veteran Kyle Busch to three wins this season. With Busch, Burnett and the No. 8 team off to a fast start this season, racking up more wins and logging Playoff points in the hunt for a title is no doubt the focus going forward.

Kyle Busch hasn’t put up three or more wins in a single season since 2019. If Busch were to score his third title this season, he would continue to be the only active driver with multiple titles and just the 10th driver all-time to collect three or more titles – the nine other drivers to accomplish the feat are all NASCAR Hall of Famers.

Drivers with Three or More Cup Series Championships (1949-2023)
Rank No. of Titles Driver Years
1 7 Jimmie Johnson 2016, ‘13, ’10, ‘09, ‘08, ‘07, ‘06
Dale Earnhardt 1994, ’93, ‘91, ‘90, ‘87, ‘86, ‘80
Richard Petty 1979, ‘75, ‘74, ‘72, ‘71, ‘67, ‘64
4 4 Jeff Gordon 2001, ‘98, ‘97, ‘95
5 3 Tony Stewart 2011, ‘05, ‘02
Darrell Waltrip 1985, ‘82, ‘81
Cale Yarborough 1978, ‘77, ‘76
David Pearson 1969, ‘68, ‘66
Lee Petty 1959, ‘58, ‘54
* Nine total three or more NASCAR Cup Series championships

Though Richard Childress Racing is tied with Junior Johnson & Associates for the third most driver and owner NASCAR Cup Series championships with six each, RCR hasn’t won a title since 1994. Kyle Busch won his previous two championships with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2015 and 2019.

Don’t count out the No. 8 team this weekend either, Kyle Busch has made 17 series starts at Sonoma Raceway posting two wins (2008, 2015), six top fives and eight top 10s.

California’s Sonoma Raceway is up next for the NASCAR Cup Series

Get out your wine glasses and corkscrews out, it’s time to head to Sonoma, California, the wine capital of the United States, for the NASCAR Cup Series race, the Toyota / Save Mart 350 this Sunday, June 11 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. This weekend’s race will be the 16th of the 2023 season and the second of six road courses on the schedule this year (COTA, Sonoma, Road America, Indianapolis RC, Watkins Glen and Charlotte ROVAL). 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick took the first road course victory of the year at Circuit of The Americas back in March. Now, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Sonoma Raceway to battle it out on the challenging 1.99-mile, multi-elevational road course for the 34th time in series history.

Sonoma Raceway was opened as a 2.52-mile, multi-elevational paved road course and drag strip in 1968. Over the course of its existence, the 12-turn facility has held a few different names – Sears Point Raceway, Sears Point International Raceway, and Infineon Raceway prior to being renamed Sonoma Raceway.

The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway was held on June 11, 1989, and was won by Ricky Rudd driving a Buick for car owner Kenny Bernstein. Rudd ran the race at an average speed of 76.088 mph and led 61 of 74 scheduled laps (82.4%).

Over the years, the format and track configuration has changed at Sonoma Raceway. The first nine NASCAR Cup Series races at Sonoma were 300 kilometers and then switched to a 350k format in 1998. The track was reconfigured to 1.949-miles in 1998 with the installation of an 890-foot chute between the original Turns 4 and 7. The track was reconfigured to 2.0 miles in 2001 and re-measured at 1.99 miles in 2002.

In 2019 and 2021, the track was reconfigured back to the original 2.52-mile configuration with races being 90 laps – 226.8 miles. Then last season, Sonoma Raceway returned the track configuration back to the 1.99-mile configuration with the return of the ‘chute’.

There have been 33 NASCAR Cup Series races at Sonoma Raceway since the first race there in 1989 – one race per season – until the 2020 season. Due to the pandemic, the series did not compete at Sonoma Raceway in 2020.

The 33 NASCAR Cup Series races at Sonoma Raceway have produced 18 different pole winners and 21 different race winners. NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon leads the series in both poles (five: 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005) and wins (five: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2006) at Sonoma Raceway.

Of the 18 different pole winners at Sonoma, three are active this weekend, led by Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Kyle Larson with four poles (2017, 2018, 2019, 2022).

Active Sonoma Pole Winners Poles Seasons
Kyle Larson 4 2022, 2019, 2018, 2017
AJ Allmendinger 1 2015
Joey Logano 1 2011

And five of the 21 different Cup Series Sonoma Raceway winners are active this weekend, led by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. with three wins (2013, 2018, 2019).

Active Sonoma Race Winners Wins Seasons
Martin Truex Jr 3 2019, 2018, 2013
Kyle Busch 2 2015, 2008
Daniel Suárez 1 2022
Kyle Larson 1 2021
Kevin Harvick 1 2017

All the on-track action begins for the NASCAR Cup Series at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday, June 10 from 5-7 p.m. ET with practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying on FS2.

Road course aces to watch for in California this weekend

Arriving this weekend at Sonoma Raceway, the NASCAR Cup Series has baker’s dozen (13) of former road course winners entered in the Toyota / Save Mart 350 (Sunday, June 11 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), and five of them are looking for their first win of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season – Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, A.J. Allmendinger, Ross Chastain and defending Sonoma winner Daniel Suárez.

Three new drivers were added to the NASCAR Cup Series road course winners list last season; including 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick, who earned two road course wins last season driving for Richard Childress Racing at Road America and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, and also Trackhouse Racing teammates Ross Chastain, who won his first career Cup Series race at Circuit of The Americas, and Daniel Suárez, who earned his first career Cup Series win at Sonoma Raceway.

“It was such a crazy day and I had so many thoughts in my head,” said Daniel Suárez reflecting on last year’s Sonoma win. “I mean, it was a rough road getting to Victory Lane, but that moment was so worth it. Not just for me but for my family, Julia, these guys believe in me – Trackhouse Racing, Justin Marks, Ty Norris. Everyone that helped me to get to this point. A lot of people in Mexico – Jay Morales and Carlos Slim. My family, they never give up on me. A lot of people did, but they didn’t. I was just very happy we were able to make it work.”

Active Road Course Winners (13) Total Wins Sonoma WGI Charlotte Daytona Indy COTA Road America
Chase Elliott 7 0 2 2 1 0 1 1
Kyle Busch 4 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
Martin Truex Jr 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 0
Kyle Larson 4 1 2 1 0 0 0 0
Tyler Reddick 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 1
Kevin Harvick 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
AJ Allmendinger 2 0 1 0 0 1 0 0
Christopher Bell 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
Joey Logano 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Ryan Blaney 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Denny Hamlin 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Daniel Suárez 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ross Chastain 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0

Of the five former road course winners entered this weekend looking for their first win of the season, Chase Elliott will most likely have the biggest spotlight focused on him on Sunday. The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Champion, Elliott, has been sidelined twice this season from injury (six races) and suspension (one race) and returns this week needing a win to make the Playoffs this season. Elliott leads all active drivers in road course wins with seven (Watkins Glen, two wins; Charlotte ROVAL, two wins; Road America, one win; COTA, one win).

“For me personally, just looking forward to getting back to work and just trying to get in a groove because I don’t really feel like I’ve been in one throughout the year,” Elliott said. “It’s been kind of stop-and-go all season, unfortunately. But the way I see it is there’s 11 races left, and we pretty much need to go win one of those to get in (the Playoffs). So that’s where my head’s at right now.”

Though Elliott hasn’t won at Sonoma, he has made six series starts posting two top fives and four top 10s. His average finish at Sonoma is 13.3. Plus, he has some stout pre-race Loop Data stats as well – Average Running Position (11.474, second-best), Driver Rating (97.6, second-best), Fastest Laps Run (27, eighth-best), and Laps in the Top 15 (410 laps, 65.9%, 11th-most).

Though Elliott undoubtedly will be a force to contend with this weekend, the remaining four drivers that are former road course winners looking for their first win of 2023 are nothing to sneeze at.

Defending Sonoma winner, Daniel Suárez, has made five series starts at Sonoma posting one win and average finish of 12.2 – best among active drivers with more than one start. Suárez has also led 47 laps on the 1.99-mile track.

Suárez’s Trackhouse Racing teammate Ross Chastain has made three starts at Sonoma posting two top-10 finishes, including a seventh-place finish in last season’s race.

Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger is always a contender for the win when the NASCAR Cup Series competes on road courses. Allmendinger not only has a two Cup Series road course wins, but he also has the all-time most road course wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with 11 of 16 career wins coming on road courses. Allmendinger has made 11 series starts at Sonoma posting two top-10 finishes.

Last but not least, is Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick who will be competing at Sonoma Raceway for the final time this weekend, as Harvick has announced his retirement from full-time racing at the end of the season. In his illustrious career, Harvick has already put up two road course wins in the NASCAR Cup Series; including one at Sonoma Raceway in 2017, and one at Watkins Glen International in 2006. In total, Harvick has made 21 series starts at Sonoma putting up one win, seven top fives and 11 top 10s.

Defending Sonoma winner Daniel Suárez looking to go back-to-back

Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suárez returns to Sonoma Raceway to defend his last season win and try to become just the third driver in NASCAR Cup Series history to win consecutive races at Sonoma; joining NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon (three straight: 1998, ’99, ‘00) and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. (2018, ’19).

Suárez, from Monterrey, Mexico, became just the second driver in the NASCAR Cup Series to earn his first career win in the series at Sonoma Raceway, joining Bogota, Columbia native Juan Pablo Montoya (2007).

“Every time we head to a road course, whether it’s Sonoma (Raceway), or somewhere else, I am excited,” said Suárez. “I feel at home, and I am excited to go back to a place where we had great memories last time and hopefully, we can repeat it.”

Last season, Suárez led 47 of the 110 scheduled laps (42.7%) at Sonoma and won the NASCAR Cup Series race from the eighth starting position. With the victory Suárez became one of 41 different drivers all-time to have won in all three of NASCAR’s national series.

Keep an eye on the No. 99 on Sunday. In five series starts at Sonoma, Suárez has put up one win (2022) and an average finish of 12.2 – the best among active drivers with more than one start.

NASCAR will run the Road Course and Selected Short Track Package at Sonoma

NASCAR has announced this season updates to the components of the NASCAR Cup Series car for races held at road courses and short tracks (excluding Bristol and Dover). The Road Course and Selected Short Track Package will consist of the following:

  1. 2” Spoiler
  2. Remove Engine Panel Strakes
  3. Remove Center and Inner Diffuser Strakes. Only the Outer Diffuser Strakes will remain installed. Spacers will be installed between the diffuser flap and diffuser due to removing the inner diffuser strakes.
  4. Remove Diffuser Fences and Replace with Baseline Fences.
  5. Splitter stuffers will remain unchanged from the current components.

The rules are in place at the following tracks: Charlotte Roval, Chicago Street Course, Circuit of The Americas, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Martinsville, New Hampshire, North Wilkesboro, Phoenix, Richmond, Sonoma and Watkins Glen.

Playoff Bubble Shuffle: Chastain loses points lead, Bowman outside Playoff cutoff looking in

While Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch was grabbing his third win of the season last weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway, several positions on the Playoff bubble started to shuffle. One of the biggest moves from last week, was the winless Ross Chastain losing the points lead and his guaranteed spot in the postseason. With Chastain dropping to fourth and Ryan Blaney taking the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings lead already having a win this season, it has opened-up an additional spot for drivers to get in on wins or points. Heading to Sonoma Raceway this weekend, six spots are up for grabs in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

The 10 drivers that have earned a spot in the Playoffs by virtue of wins this season are William Byron, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, Tyler Reddick, Joey Logano and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The six drivers currently occupying the remaining postseason spots on points are 11. Kevin Harvick (+166 points ahead of cutoff), 12. Ross Chastain (+159), 13. Brad Keselowski (+96), 14. Chris Buescher (+86), 15. Bubba Wallace (+27) and 16. Daniel Suárez (+6).

Falling one spot to 17th after a 26th-place finish at Word Wide Technology Raceway last weekend, Alex Bowman is six points back from defending Sonoma Raceway winner, Daniel Suárez in 16th – the final transfer spot on points to the Playoffs. Not far behind Bowman is rookie Ty Gibbs in 18th in the Playoff outlook, 15 points back from Suárez.

Currently five drivers that made the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs last season are below the cutline this year – Alex Bowman (17th, -6 points), Austin Cindric (19th, -33 points), Chase Elliott (27th, -98 points), Austin Dillon (29th, -113 points), and Chase Briscoe (31st, -138 points).

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Milestone Watch: Harvick to surpass Gordon on all-time starts list – Currently tied with NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon for ninth on the NASCAR Cup Series all-time starts list with 805 starts each, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will surpass Gordon this weekend at Sonoma Raceway and solely move into the ninth position with 806 starts – just three starts behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip in eighth with 809 starts. Harvick leads all drivers in NASCAR national series starts entering this weekend with 1,278 career starts.

Additional upcoming milestones to watch for over the next few weeks are. …

The manufacturer Toyota is just four races away from the 1,000th NASCAR national series event for the Toyota Camry (591 Cup, 405 Xfinity). The 1,000th Camry start will be Atlanta in July.

Bubba Wallace – 200th start at Nashville Superspeedway – June 25

William Byron – 200th start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway – July 16

Chase Briscoe – 100th start at Kansas Speedway II – Sept. 10

Justin Haley – 100th start at Kansas Speedway II – Sept. 10

Ryan Blaney – 300th start at Texas Motor Speedway – Sept. 24

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 400th start Phoenix Raceway II – Nov. 5

Actor, Comedian Adam Devine named Grand Marshal for Sonoma – Sonoma Raceway is thrilled to announce that popular actor and comedian Adam Devine will be the Grand Marshal for the highly anticipated Toyota/Save Mart 350 on June 11, 2023. Devine, known for his irresistible energy seen in Pitch Perfect, will bring his unique charisma to the iconic Sonoma Raceway as he takes on the prestigious role of Grand Marshal. As Grand Marshal, Devine will give the command to start engines, igniting the thrilling race that awaits. With his magnetic personality and love for motorsports, Devine is the perfect choice to set the tone for an exhilarating day of NASCAR Cup Series racing at Sonoma Raceway.

“We are thrilled to have Adam Devine join us as the Grand Marshal for the Toyota/Save Mart 350,” said Jill Gregory, executive vice president and general manager of Sonoma Raceway. “His infectious enthusiasm and vibrant presence will add to the electric atmosphere that we offer to both fans and competitors at our events.”

Devine can next be seen in the Netflix action-comedy film The Out-Laws, also starring Pierce Brosnan, Ellen Barkin and Nina Dobrev, released on July 7.

Country Music rising star Tiffany Woys to perform national anthem at Sonoma – Sacramento Native and Country Music Television’s “Next Up Now” artist Tiffany Woys will perform the national anthem for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 this Sunday, June 11 at Sonoma Raceway.

Woys, recently named a Taste of Country “Artist to Watch” is no stranger to entertaining NASCAR fans. The Northern California native previously performed the national anthem at Darlington Raceway.

Her most recent radio single, “I Don’t Want You Back” is Tiffany’s sixth charted song on Billboard’s National Country Radio Indicator Chart.

WWE Superstar Braun Strowman to pilot pace car at Sonoma – WWE Superstar and former strongman Adam Scherr, aka Braun Strowman, will serve as the honorary pace car driver for the upcoming Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Cup Series race on June 11. Known not only for his strength but also his larger-than-life persona, Strowman will bring his showmanship to a new arena as he enters the high-octane world of NASCAR.

On June 11, he will buckle into a new role as he leads the field of 36 drivers through the pace laps to the green flag of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 after being recognized on the pre-race stage.

Kamui Kobayashi, to Make NASCAR Debut at Indianapolis Road Course for 23XI Racing – Toyota and 23XI Racing announced that famed Toyota Gazoo Racing driver and WEC (World Endurance Championship) team principal, Kamui Kobayashi will make his NASCAR debut in the No. 67 Toyota at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course on August 13.

“NASCAR is something different in the culture of motorsports compared to Japan and Europe – as a driver, it’s the American dream,” said Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota Gazoo Racing driver and WEC team principal. “I was lucky to be able to race in IMSA the last couple of years. It’s a different form of racing, but I think the racing technology is at a high level. I really appreciate this opportunity from TRD, U.S.A. and of course Toyota Motor North America and Toyota Gazoo Racing. Toyota has been racing in NASCAR for a long time, but I don’t think any other Japanese driver has raced a Toyota in the Cup Series.  I’m very proud of this opportunity.”

Kobayashi started his racing career karting in Japan and after winning several titles, he won a scholarship to join Toyota’s Young Drivers program and made the transition into single seater race cars. This portion of his career also started in Japan and later into Europe, which led to being hired as Toyota’s Formula 1 driver. In 2008, Toyota signed Kobayashi as their third driver resulting in his debut during the 2009 season at the Brazilian GP. Kobayashi was active until 2014 in the highest level of racing in the world, Formula 1. Following his Formula 1 career, Kobayashi returned to Japan where he switched to the Supra Formula Series, a class he still actively competes in today. Kobayashi also competed as part of the IMSA Series for the Lexus Racing program in 2022 at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park when he filled in for the injured Jack Hawksworth. Kobayashi is now a driver and team principal with the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team in the World Endurance Championship (WEC).

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer lands his first road course win

JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier appeared to have the race at Portland International Raceway in the bag last weekend, which would’ve made him the first back-to-back winner of the 2023 season. But he got knocked out in Turn 1, ultimately giving Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer a straight shot to Victory Lane.

The win marked Custer’s first on a road course, first of the 2023 season and the 11th of his NASCAR Xfinity Series career. It also marked the first win by a Ford driver in the Xfinity Series this season.

The 25-year-old driver will now look to carry that winning momentum into yet another weekend of road course racing at Sonoma Raceway.

Although this weekend will be the first time Sonoma Raceway has hosted a NASCAR Xfinity Series race, Custer has an advantage over some of his competitors – he’s made some laps on the California road course.

He’s made two starts at the track in the NASCAR Cup Series (2021, 2022), finishing 20th and 21st, respectively.

More Road Course Fun: California Wine Country is up next

After some left and right turns at Portland International Raceway last weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will be staying in the road course groove with the DoorDash 250 at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday, June 10 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Sonoma Raceway is the third of eight road course races on the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule (Austin, Portland, Sonoma, Chicago, Elkhart Lake, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen, Charlotte).

This will be the first time the Xfinity Series will be making laps on the Sonoma, California road course but NASCAR is no stranger to running on the track.

There have been 33 NASCAR Cup Series races Sonoma Raceway. The inaugural race was on June 11, 1989, and was won by Ricky Rudd driving a Buick for Kenny Bernstein.

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series also has a few stints on the road course. They ran at Sonoma from 1995-1998 before taking a 24-year hiatus. The series made a return last season (2022) in a race that saw Kyle Busch take the checkered flag.

NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers will hit the track for the very first time for practice at 4:05 p.m. ET on Friday, June 9 followed by Pole Qualifying at 3 p.m. ET on June 10. Both events can be watched on FS1.

Another Round: Doubling down in Sonoma

The competition will be sure to heat up as many drivers will look to become a part of this inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Sonoma Raceway, including seven full-time NASCAR Cup Series drivers – Ty Dillon, Daniel Suárez, A.J. Allmendinger, Kyle Larson, Ty Gibbs, Ross Chastain and Aric Almirola.

Ty Dillon will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 4 JD Motorsports Chevrolet for his second Xfinity Series start of the 2023 season. Dillon has some experience on the Sonoma road course, he has made four starts in the NASCAR Cup Series with a best finish of 23rd (2022).

Suárez will be piloting the No. 07 SS-Green Light Racing Chevrolet for his first Xfinity Series start since the 2018 season. The 31-year-old former Xfinity Series Champion (2016) knows the Sonoma road course all too well, as he posted his first NASCAR Cup Series win there last season (2022).

Allmendinger, better known as the Xfinity Series’ road course ringer, will be driving the No. 10 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing. This will be his second Xfinity Series start of the season. His first was at COTA where he won the pole and went on to win the race – his 11th Xfinity Series road course win (series-most). Last season in the Xfinity Series, he posted five wins, four of which were on a road courses (COTA, Portland, Indianapolis RC, Charlotte RC).

Larson is making his second start of the season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series behind the wheel of the No. 17 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. His first start was at Darlington Raceway where he took the checkered flag. The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champ has started from the pole or first starting position in the last five Cup Series races at Sonoma and found Victory Lane in 2021.

Ty Gibbs will be driving the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for his third Xfinity Series start of the 2023 season. His other starts were at COTA (finished third) and Charlotte (fifth). The 20-year-old driver will be making his debut at Sonoma Raceway this weekend.

Ross Chastain will be making his third Xfinity Series start of the season piloting the No. 91 DGM Racing Chevrolet. He has made three Cup Series starts at Sonoma, posting two top-10 finishes.

Aric Almirola will be driving the No. 28 RSS Racing Ford for his second Xfinity Series appearance of the season. His first start came at COTA where he finished 24th. He has made 10 starts at Sonoma Raceway in the Cup Series, posting two top 10s.

Playoff Outlook: Five spots remaining with 12 races to go

As the series gears up for Sonoma Raceway this weekend, seven drivers have won in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season, leaving just five spots available in the 12-driver postseason field. Just past the halfway point, Sonoma is one of 12 races left in the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ regular season.

The drivers that have secured their spots in the Playoffs by virtue of wins are John Hunter Nemechek, Austin Hill, Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer, Chandler Smith, Sammy Smith and Jeb Burton.

The five drivers that currently hold the remaining Playoff spots on points are Josh Berry (431 points), Sheldon Creed (396 points), Sam Mayer (353 points), Riley Herbst (346 points) and Daniel Hemric (333 points).

Just outside the cutline is Brandon Jones, who has made six Xfinity Series Playoff appearances – second only to Justin Allgaier who was seven Playoff appearances. He’ll be looking to snag his first win of the season at Sonoma Raceway. On road courses earlier this season, he’s posted an 11th-place finish (COTA) and a 13th-place finish (Portland).

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Milestone Watch: Brandon Jones to make 250th Xfinity start – This weekend at Sonoma Raceway, JR Motorsports driver Brandon Jones will make his 250th career start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and his first at Sonoma Raceway.

Jones will become the 43rd different driver in NASCAR Xfinity Series history to reach 250 or more career starts. Kenny Wallace holds the record for the most starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with 547.

NASCAR Cup Series star Ross Chastain will also be competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race this weekend at Sonoma Raceway, making his 200th career NASCAR Xfinity Series start. Chastain will be piloting the No. 91 Chevrolet for DGM Racing this weekend.

Brent Sherman to compete at the Chicago Street Course – Chicago native Brent Sherman will be joining RSS Racing in the No. 28 Ford to run in the inaugural Chicago Street Race next month.

The race will mark his 62nd career start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and his first in a NASCAR national series event since 2009.

“This opportunity just fell into place,” said Sherman. “When the street race was announced, I knew I wanted to explore the chance to get back in a race car. I can’t thank RSS Racing enough for the opportunity to compete in the No. 28. I know I’ll have some challenges with the temperature in Chicago during the summer months, but I’m up for the challenge and have been training to be prepared for it.”


Grant Enfinger wins over-time thriller at World Wide Technology Raceway

After leading a race-high 65 laps, GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger won his second race of the 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series season at World Wide Technology Raceway. This was Enfinger’s ninth victory in 162 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races and his first win at the 1.25-mile oval.

The Alabama native also took home $50,000 courtesy of the Triple Truck Challenge.

The end of the race looked to be a battle between the three most dominant drivers of the day – Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger, and pole winner, Ty Majeski. After a restart on Lap 155, Majeski soared to second place and ran side by side with Smith, but Majeski spun sideways in Turn 2 knocking Smith into the wall in the process.

The incident sent the Toyota 200 into overtime with GMS Racing’s Enfinger in the lead and McAnally-Hilgemann Racing’s Christian Eckes beside him. Ultimately, the driver of the No. 23 Chevrolet pulled away from Eckes to win by a truck length.

The driver of the No. 19 Chevrolet, Eckes, posted his second top-10 finish in six races at World Wide Technology Raceway and his sixth top-10 finish in 2023. Halmar Friesen Racing’s Stewart Friesen (third) posted his fifth top-10 finish in six races at the 1.25-mile track and his fourth top-five of the year. Niece Motorsports’ Carson Hocevar (fourth) collected his fourth top five in a row and has now posted six top-10 finishes this year.

Regular Season Title Watch: Corey Heim leads point standings with four to go

TRICON Garage’s Corey Heim continues to have a strong year as he continues to hold the driver points lead in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series with four races left in the regular season. The 20-year-old is currently just one point up on Ty Majeski.

Heim’s points lead began after a strong finish at North Wilkesboro – winning Stage 1 and finishing sixth overall – gaining him a total of 48 points to jump from third in the standings over Ty Majeski and Zane Smith. The Georgia native has accumulated one win (Martinsville), four top-five and nine top-10 finishes this season.

The driver of the No. 11 Toyota cannot yet clinch the Regular Season Championship since there are still four wins and 240 points available.

ThorSport Racing’s Ty Majeski (-1 point back from the points leader) and Front Row Motorsports’ Zane Smith (-9) also continue to dominate. Although Majeski has yet to win a race this season, he has collected six top-five and eight top-10 finishes. Smith, who swept the Regular Season and Post-Season Championship in 2022, has accumulated two wins, five top five and five top-10 finishes.

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series to race under the lights in Music City

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series is taking two weekends off while the Xfinity Series and Cup Series will tackle the road course at Sonoma Raceway and then join the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series for a much deserved off-weekend. The CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will jump back into action under the lights at Nashville Superspeedway for the Rackley Roofing 200 (Friday, June 23, at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM Radio).

The inaugural NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race at Nashville Superspeedway was August 10, 2001 – a race won by Scott Riggs, driving a Dodge for Jim Smith. To date, Nashville has hosted 15 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races producing 12 different winners. Johnny Benson Jr., Kyle Busch, and Ryan Preece lead all drivers with two victories at the 1.33-mile track.

Toyota also leads the pack with the most wins in Music City, coming in at six victories.

Season Manufacturer Race Winners
2005 Toyota David Reutimann
2006 Toyota Johnny Benson Jr.
2008 Toyota Johnny Benson Jr.
2010 Toyota Kyle Busch
2010 Toyota Todd Bodine
2011 Toyota Kyle Busch

Ford follows with four trips to Victory Lane and Chevrolet with two.


Zane Smith to make Sonoma Raceway debut in NASCAR Cup Series – The 2022 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Champion Zane Smith will be the only NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series driver competing this weekend in the NASCAR Cup Series. He will pilot the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford on Sunday. Smith has made six previous career starts in the NASCAR Cup Series. His career-best finish was 10th in his Coke 600 debut a few weeks ago.

Triple Truck Challenge streak continues – Since its inception in 2019, no driver has been able to win all three Triple Truck Challenge races in one season to collect the $500,000 bonus. The streak continues this year after Grant Enfinger took home the $50,000 bonus at World Wide Technology, following Ben Rhodes’ win at Charlotte. “The Trip” will close out on June 23 at Nashville Superspeedway with a new race winner receiving $50,000 or one of the two previous winners pocketing an additional $150,000.