Tuesday, September 2, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

NASCAR to invade Sonoma Raceway

By
From page B7 | June 21, 2013 |

Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch leads the field during the NASCAR Quicken Loans 400 auto race at Michigan International Speedway, Sunday, in Brooklyn, Mich. (The Associated Press file)

Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch leads the field during the NASCAR Quicken Loans 400 auto race at Michigan International Speedway, Sunday, in Brooklyn, Mich. (The Associated Press file)

SAN FRANCISCO — It’s time to turn right again.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series invades Sonoma Raceway’s road course Friday through Sunday, with practice Friday, qualifying Saturday and the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday.

The NASCAR West Series qualifying and race are also Saturday, including local favorite Jim Inglebright, making an action-packed weekend for race fans.

Clint Bowyer is the defending Cup champion in the Wine Country, with Kurt Busch winning the 350 two years ago.

NASCAR has instituted a new road-course qualifying format this season, with practice times dictating which group of five or six cars will qualify together, with the fastest cars in practice qualifying together last, making even more excitement for racing fans.

Each similarly timed car will hit the course 5 seconds apart.

At a press conference in San Francisco, Thursday, Cup drivers Busch and David Gilliland, along with car owner Michael Waltrip, chimed in on the new qualifying format and how much they like coming to race in the Bay Area.

“I was definitely eager to get here and it’s a track that was a big difference maker in my career,” Busch said. “Sonoma is my sentimental favorite track. I just enjoy coming out here with the different pace of life in California and coming back toward home. I grew up in Las Vegas. Over the years, the track’s been nice to me. I’ve won in a Southwest Tour car and in a Cup car. It’s definitely a track on the map that I look forward to getting to.”

Gilliand, who won the West Series race in the Wine Country in 2012, is in favor of the road course qualifying change.

“Qualifying here has been tough in the past because you go out there and you have one lap and a lot of opportunities to make mistakes,” he said. “With the European-style qualifying, I’ve been doing it for the last couple of years in the K&N Series, if you do make a mistake, or you don’t nail it on the first lap, you’ve got the second one. It gives you a second chance. . . . It’s going to be exciting.”

Waltrip’s take on the format was similar to Gilliland’s.

“Qualifying at a road course is so difficult,” the co-owner of the cars driven by Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. said. “It’s going to be interesting to see if the pole sitter is going to be able to get it done in one lap or get it done in a couple. There’s definitely a twist to qualifying this year that I’m sure the boys are looking forward to.

“It’s nice to know that you have the insurance of having another lap if something doesn’t go right the first time. The guys put it on the edge anyway, but with that knowledge of the insurance of being able to do it again, we’ll probably see a track record with the cars going really fast.”

With the road course comes plenty of contact, and both Busch and Gilliland know that’s part of the track’s nature.

“Sonoma is always circled on our calendar. It’s a special place. Just like Kurt said, growing up on the West Coast (Riverside), it’s a great time for us. I’ve been coming here ever since I wasn’t even able to get in the pits, running around on the hills, getting dirty. It’s just a great track . . . and it’s a great race. You can get into someone’s bumper. It gets pretty physical out there.”

Added Busch: “Any time you put short corners together, there’s a chance you might run into somebody. This track has definitely taken on a short-track attitude. You have Bristol, Martinsville . . . so this is one of those places where you can get physical with guys and you see some retaliation, and you have to expect it. Even though road racing is supposed to be a more gentlemen’s-type sport . . . everybody can kind of destroy each other like a couple years ago. It’s a track that lends itself to some good racing and also some good pit strategy as well.”

And with the new Gen-6 car making its road-course debut, Busch is a little nervous about how it will handle Sonoma’s 1.99-mile, 12-turn layout.

“There’s two programs that we set up,” he said. “One is a more aggressive-style setup and one’s more conservative. We’ve already challenged our guys back at the shop to come up with setups and the direction we’re going to go. Now it’s going to be the guys at the track that will have to manually change the car over and we’re going to do that with quick decisions after the first third of practice (Friday).

“It’s a tough balance. The good teams will know exactly how to attack qualifying. Then once Saturday rolls around, you already have to have your decision. If you’re going after a two stop race or a three stop race. The new car, new tires, the new qualifying, it’s all a little bit different. So (Friday) we’ll get more answers.”

Maybe the answers he had when he won in Sonoma in 2011.
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or barnold@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.
Brian Arnold

Brian Arnold

1992 graduate of San Francisco State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Labor Day not a holiday for everyone

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Labor Day breakfast introduces union-backed candidates

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Pool provides last dose of summer fun in the sun

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
SafeQuest schedules peer counseling training course

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Aug. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

VP Biden says workers deserve ‘fair share’

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Obama: ‘Revving’ economy calls for higher wages

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Senegal monitors contacts of 1st Ebola patient

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
San Francisco to be 1st to test urban farming law

By The Associated Press | From Page:

GOP challenger tries novel tactics against Brown

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
US eating habits improve a bit – except among poor

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

 
No gray area: Beliefs shape views of Brown killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Iraqi prime minister pledges to root out militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Poland’s PM: Ukraine’s war must be stopped now

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Pro-Russian rebels lower demands in peace talks

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 2 Comments | Gallery

US helicopter crashes in Gulf of Aden; all rescued

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Opinion

.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 2, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
.

Entertainment

Inquiries begin into nude celebrity photo leaks

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
‘Guardians’ tops Labor Day, summer box office

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Kirk rallies to win the Deutsche Bank

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Rockies top Giants after losing end of suspended game

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Dunn homers in 1st at-bat as A’s top Mariners

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Right guard Boone passes physical, rejoins 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders name rookie Derek Carr as starting QB

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Armijo beats Vanden 2-0 to claim All-City boys soccer title

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Armed with new deal, Chiefs’ Smith looks forward

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Column: Stewart’s Chase status doesn’t matter

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders ink CB Dowling, 9 others to practice squad

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Serena Williams, Djokovic roll to US Open quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Houston Astros fire manager Bo Porter

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Hamels, 3 Phillies relievers no-hit Braves

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Markets drift as Wall Street has day off

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Austerity debate flares as Europe recovery fades

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Civil disobedience expected in fast-food pay fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 4 Comments | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Blondie Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
B.C. Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Dilbert Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Garfield Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7