The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series arrives in Northern California as drivers get to deal with a rare mix of right turns at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. The race kicks off at noon pacific on TNT and features a mix of NASCAR favorites and the proverbial "road course ringers." Road courses are not the norm in NASCAR and so certain drivers have a tactical advantage they don't normally hold in the traditional left turn only races.
As would be expected, former open-wheel stalwart Juan Pablo Montoya is a favorite in the race having won it in his Sonoma debut and following that with consistent Top 10 finishes. Marcos Ambrose will be a more subtle favorite after a near victory in 2010. And, of course, other recent winners will be right in the thick of things. That means you can expect to see Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, and Jimmie Johnson near the front of the pack on Sunday.
As the Sprint Cup Series heads into race sixteen here in the middle of the summer, the Bay Area will have its usual representatives in the form of Vallejo-native Jeff Gordon and Los Gatos-native A.J. Allmendinger. Gordon will be a favorite in Sonoma while Allmendinger will be more of a long shot to end up in Victory Lane.
This week's schedule of events will include qualifying on Friday, practice on Saturday, and then the 110-lap race itself at noon on Sunday. We'll be here to provide results and news updates along the way.
We'll be here all weekend providing news updates and results on the 2011 Toyota/Save Mart 350. For more NASCAR coverage, check out NASCAR Ranting and Raving as well as SB Nation's NASCAR hub.