NASCAR returns to California on Sunday as the Toyota/Save Mart 350 kicks off at Sonoma's Infineon Raceway. One driver who welcomes the return to Northern California is Los Gatos native AJ Allmendinger who will start in the seventh position. While Jeff Gordon might be the slightly more famous Northern California native, Allmendinger has a stronger claim to the region. Gordon was born in Vallejo, just down the road from Infineon, but left when was still young and was raised in Indiana. Allmendinger on the other hand was born in Los Gatos and stayed in Northern California as he learned the art of driving.
Allmendinger has much more limited experience than Gordon when it comes to racing in general and road courses in particular. Allmendinger has six road courses under his belt, three of which came at Infineon. He has finished 7th, 13th, and 37th in Sonoma and also claimed a top five finish and a top ten finish in other road courses.
Allmendinger will be looking to build on what has been arguably his most successful season to date. He is currently 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings and is 53 points back of the top ten who earn a bid in the Chase For The Sprint Cup. A solid finish at Sonoma would get Allmendinger a little bit closer to securing a spot in the Chase as he continues his quest for his first career victory.
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.