Toyota/Save Mart 350 Pit Notes – Sonoma Raceway

The following are some points of interest regarding previous NASCAR Cup races in Sonoma, as well as  Sonoma Raceway track facts, in advance of this weekend’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.

 

  • Tony Stewart and Ernie Irvan will become the newest members of the raceway’s Wall of Fame, joining fellow NASCAR stars Rusty Wallace (2005), Mark Martin (2005), Jeff Gordon (2006), Ricky Rudd (2007) and Rick Hendrick (2010). Their induction ceremony will be held on Friday at 2:10 p.m.in Sunoco Victory Lane.

 

  • Eighteen drivers have tasted victory in Sonoma: Ricky Rudd (’89, ‘02), Rusty Wallace (‘90, ‘96), Davey Allison (‘91), Ernie Irvan (‘92, ‘94), Geoffrey Bodine (’93), Dale Earnhardt (’95), Mark Martin (‘97), Jeff Gordon (‘98-‘00, ‘04, ‘06), Tony Stewart (‘01, ‘05), Robby Gordon (‘03), Juan Pablo Montoya (‘07), Kyle Busch (’08,’15), Kasey Kahne (‘09), Jimmie Johnson (‘10), Kurt Busch (‘11), Clint Bowyer (’12), Martin Truex Jr. (’13) and Carl Edwards (’14).

 

  • Jeff Gordon is the only driver to win five NASCAR races in Sonoma (1998 – 2000, ‘04, ‘06).  There are four two-time winners: Ernie Irvan, (‘92, ‘94), Ricky Rudd (‘89, ‘02), Tony Stewart (‘01, ‘05) and Rusty Wallace (‘90, ‘96).

 

  • Brothers Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch finished 1-2, respectively, at Sonoma Raceway in 2015; it marked the first time the brothers ever finished 1-2 in Sprint Cup Series competition.

 

  • Elk Grove native Kyle Larson set the raceway’s qualifying record last year at 96.568 mph (74.186). Clint Bowyer holds the record for fastest race winner with an average speed of 83.624 mph (2012).

 

  • Jeff Gordon holds the record for the most races led at 12.  Gordon has led 22 times for a total of 440 laps, the most of any driver. He also holds the record for most laps completed in Sonoma, completing 2,227 of 2,551 laps.

 

  • Jeff Gordon holds the record for the most poles with five (‘98, ‘99, ‘01, ‘04, ‘05).

 

  • The track record for the most lead changes was set in 2011, as nine drivers exchanged the lead 12 times.

 

  • Dale Earnhardt won his only NASCAR road-course race in Sonoma in 1995.

 

  • Juan Pablo Montoya holds the track record for the greatest winning improvement when he started 32nd and went on to win in 2007.

 

  • Juan Pablo Montoya was the first rookie ever to win a NASCAR Cup event in Sonoma.

 

  • The closest margin of victory occurred in 1999 when Jeff Gordon held off Mark Martin by .197 seconds.

 

  • Terry Labonte and Michael Waltrip share the track record for the biggest improvement from qualifying to finish at 36 positions.  In 2002, Labonte started 39th and finished third.  Waltrip started 40th and finished fourth in 2004.

 

  • Ernie Irvan (1994), Mark Martin (1997) and Jeff Gordon (1998, ‘99 and 2004) are the only drivers to win a race starting from the pole.

 

Track Facts

 

  • In 2016, Sonoma Raceway installed more than 5,000 square feet of high-resolution, full LED Panasonic screens. An 85-foot tall, four-sided LED scoring tower has replaced the outdated lap/leader board above Turn 1 of the road course, and an 84- x 12-foot Panasonic LED screen has been added to the front of the three-story Drag Tower building.

 

  • The Sonoma Raceway road course features more than 160 feet of elevation change from its highest point (Turn 3a, 174 feet) to its lowest point (Turn 10, 14 feet).

 

  • The berms on the turns of the road course are painted blue and gold at the suggestion of raceway President and General Manager Steve Page, who attended UC Berkeley.

 

  • The property on which the raceway was built was a working farm called Sears Point Farm in the early 1900s.

 

  • In 2011, in a partnership with Panasonic Corporation of North America, the raceway completed a solar installation of nearly 1,700 solar panels, which offsets approximately 41% of the raceway’s energy usage.

 

  • Drivers who complete the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup race will make 1,100 turns around the road course. The race spans 110 laps.

 

  • Nearly 3,000 sheep, housed at the raceway and provided by Rocky Mountain Wooly Weeders, provide natural land care, helping to maintain the facility’s grasses and fire lanes.

 

  • Winners in Sonoma celebrate with a sip from the Champion’s Goblet in the Sunoco Victory Lane.  The goblet, which is handcrafted by a local glass blower from Oakland, was introduced in 2006 and incorporates the raceway’s rich wine country heritage.

 

  • The raceway has collected more than 540 tons of materials (1,078,170 pounds) since the inception of its recycling program in 2004.

 

 

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