Written By Gabriel Tsui, Edited by Sean McKean
After a dominating win by Kyle Busch in Gateway, we head to Sonoma, California for the 16th race of the season. As Chase Elliott returns to the #9 car, would he be able to capture a win right away? Will Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. repeat their past success on the track? Or would Daniel Suarez win back to back on the same track?
Sonoma Raceway is located in California, 30 miles north of San Francisco. The track is 1.99 miles (3.20 km) long, and it is a road course, which would certainly lead to a lot of exciting overtaking. The track will test the drivers’ ability to navigate tightly through different corners and apply precise gear shifts.
The track has 11 corners, starting with an elevation from the start/finish line to the end of turn four, reaching a height of 174 ft. After the uphill battle, a tight exit leading to a short straight line run towards turn five, where drivers take a right turn to a downhill straight towards turn six. Then drivers go through multiple mid-high speed esses, which then leads to the slowest and the final corner of the track, a U-turn heading back to the start/finish line.
A challenge for the drivers would be the weather, with a forecast of 19℃, which could cause drivers some problems with grip, in a track where tyre grip is decisive to car performance.
The race will start June 11th, 15:30 ET (21:30 CET).
A huge favorite for the race currently is none other than Tyler Reddick. As the driver who won the only road course race in COTA, he is certainly a favorite to take the checkered flag. The HMS trio of Larson, Elliot and William Byron are also among the favorites. They have three of the best cars among the field, with Byron having the best pit crew of the season so far, with multiple 9-second-stops (4 tyres) since the all star break. These four are certainly the heavy favorites of the weekend.
However, Trackhouse Racing shouldn’t be underestimated at all. Last season, both their drivers, Suarez and Ross Chastain both took wins on a road course, and Suarez took his in Sonoma. Another driver in play would be Christopher Bell, who also took a road course win in Roval last year during the playoffs. A sleeper pick would be Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was within top 10 during final stages of the race in Charlotte and Gateway. It is not entirely outlandish to say that Stenhouse could surprise NASCAR fans yet again, taking another surprising win.