Everything you need to know for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway, the 16th regular season event of the 2022 campaign.
Race day info 📝
Where: Sonoma, California
Approximate start time: 4 p.m. ET | Full weekend schedule
TV/Radio: Radio NASCAR FS1, TSN, PRN, SiriusXM | Full TV lineup
Provide: Mostly sunny, with highs near 77 degrees, according to NOAA.gov | Weather tracking
Race distance: 110 rounds | 218.9 miles
Steps: 25 | 55 | 110
Pit road speed: 40 mph
Warning car speed: 45 mph
Grand Marshals: The Bella Twins, stars of WWE
Pilot Car Driver: Fred Warner, San Francisco 49ers linebacker
Sonoma 101: Get the full detail
Starting lineup: see where the drivers will start
Pit Stops: See where drivers will pit
Key things to watch out for 🔑
Great story line
It’s no secret that the Next Gen car was designed to be tough and versatile. Part of that versatility is aimed at increasing its prowess on road courses throughout the season. With a wider tire profile and a body composition that can withstand more knocks and bangs in the corners, the usual road course specialists should have tougher competition this weekend in Sonoma. In the first road race this season at the Circuit of the Americas, drivers with minimal experience in left and right turns were able to be more competitive and pass some of the favorites. Routine favorites like Chase Elliott, AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr., who dominated the field in Sonoma during his career, will have to fight against a larger and stronger group of contenders if they want to win sunday. . And yeah. The Fall is back.
Who fired? Who is not ?
Despite Chase Elliott’s historic dominance of the road courses, it was Kyle Larson who had the hot hand for much of the 2021 season en route to his Cup Series championship. The California native has been on fire in Sonoma, starting on pole in four consecutive races and leading a total of 68 laps. Larson has also won three of the last six road course races, including last season’s showdown in Sonoma. Needing more consistent results to bolster his title defense, Larson and the No. 5 group could make Sunday the perfect time to start a solid run.
Conversely, Aric Almirola fought almost as much as anyone on the road circuits. Almirola has 12 consecutive finishes of 12th or worse and has never led a round in nine starts at Sonoma. But looking at the numbers, the strategy hasn’t been that far off for the Stewart-Haas Racing Team at times, scoring stage points in three of six. But it will take a more comprehensive effort for the No. 10 team to break their spiraling trend. Almirola finished 19th after starting 25th at the Circuit of the Americas, suggesting a better effort in qualifying could give them a solid chance of a top-10 finish on Sunday.
Driving under the radar
If you just look at previous Cup Series starts as a measure, you won’t find rookie Austin Cindric among the favorites to win on Sunday. In fact, Saturday’s practice session will be the first laps for Team Penske’s No. 2 driver at Sonoma. But Cindric is an accomplished road racer and would be an unsurprising winner if he could pull it off this weekend. He finished eighth in COTA and has consistently raced at the front of the pack in Xfinity Series road races, including winning the Daytona Road Course and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. After winning the Daytona 500, Cindric’s inaugural season was a rollercoaster. But with a long list of road courses on the horizon, expect the No. 2 crew to make a statement again.
Practice was a bit mixed for the teams as they tried to dial in their cars for qualifying and Sunday’s race. Sonoma is only the second road race of the year and it showed with some rust and ironing issues in the Next Gen car. Unsurprisingly, AJ Allmendinger moved up to No. 1 in the Group A standings, while Kyle Larson continued his impressive run of form with a titanic effort in Group B. But it was Larson whose fast pace faltered. continued through to group qualifying, taking the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports driver to his fourth consecutive pole in qualifying at Sonoma and fifth overall. A good start for the California native’s bid to match his game-winning effort from 2021. | Complete recap of trials and qualifications | Team #51 fails inspection, penalized
Race day essentials ✅
Our biggest bits of the week – get covered for race day from every angle.
• Paint scheme preview: Cars dressed for the west coast trip | Choose a favorite
• Power ratings: Will Bowman show up in Sonoma? | Ranking of updated drivers
• Fantastic Fast Lane: Martin Truex Jr. destined for escape race in Sonoma | Top games, sleepers
• NASCAR Betting: The best odds to win in Sonoma | Top dogs and underdogs
• Drivers at the rear: Rivalries escalate for Sonoma | Experts analyze the race
Catch the pack 💨
Read headlines from the week leading up to Sunday’s race.
• Dark blond : The driver tries to suppress the quarrels and talks to his rivals | Whole story
• Control : No. 51 Cup team repeatedly fails, penalized by NASCAR | Learn more
• Pearn’s return: Cole Pearn as JGR Crew No. 19 Engineer this weekend | Read more
• Twist-and-turn: Sonoma’s curvy layout presents the next challenge for the Next Gen car | Read more
• Domino effect: Reddick poised for first win, hoping for breakthrough in Sonoma | Read more
• Chastain vs. Hamlin: Officials ready to monitor the dispute | Read more
• Mark, Mamba and the Mayor: A new podcast discusses the evolution of Sonoma, more | listen now
• Expel the smoke: Hamlin one win away from Stewart on all-time win list | Full analysis
• Le Mans: Kyle Larson drops a subtle and playful hint about the 2023 race opener | Read more
• Byron flowering: William Byron wins the prestigious Super Late Model race | Race summary
• Pending: Daniel Suárez waiting for Carson Hocevar in Sonoma | Read more
• Strength in numbers: Justin Marks defends Ross Chastain and welcomes competition | Read more
• Jack Ingram: Hickory Speedway Set to Honor NASCAR Hall of Fame | Learn more
• NDIP: NASCAR Diversity Internship Program Welcomes Class of 2022 | See them here
Get in on the action 💰
Think you know NASCAR? Test your mettle with play, fantasy.
• PariMGM: What driver stock is up for Sunday? | Read more
• The Action Network: Featured match to bet on Sunday | Read more
• Play live: Complete NASCAR Fantasy Live 2022 Game Guide | Get the FAQ
• Go until the end : 2022 Cup Series Championship Odds | See them here
Wines and winding roads 🍷
Take a look at the relevant history, including previous winners of this road showdown.
• Win West: Sonoma All-Time Winners | See the list
• Do you remember? Most Memorable Moments in Sonoma | Relive them
• Ringtones: Active Cup Series drivers with road wins | Who has the most?
• Round 11: Turn 11 Sonoma Biggest Moments | Watch GIFs
• Sweet Victory: A look at Sonoma’s past celebrations | The laurels of the road circuit
Fast facts ⏩
Hard-hitting, race-relevant stats from the experts at Racing Insights.
• It will be the 28the race on the 1.99 mile, 11-turn course and the first since 2018.
• Sonoma is the second of six road races in 2022.
• Sonoma’s last four races have been won by four different organizations and Martin Truex Jr. has won with JGR and Furniture Row during that time.
• Stage 1 in Sonoma never had more than one warning and went without a warning twice.
• Two of Sonoma’s last three races have had a final green flag streak of 46 laps or longer, with the final streak of 2021 lasting just two laps.
Say what? 🎙
Notable quotes from sports stars ahead of Sunday’s race.
• “I’ve always had good speed at Sonoma (Raceway) and that’s my home track. It’s always fun to see my friends and family, and it was cool to get my first win at my home track last year. But that was with last year’s car and on the longer track. Hopefully we can get another pole this weekend, lead a few laps and fight for the win again. — Kyle Larson, #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driver
• “This car definitely lends itself to road racing, so I’m excited to be going to Sonoma this weekend. It’s always a fun track and a great place to go. It’s very different from anywhere somewhere else we’re going, so I know a lot of people are looking forward to it. As for the track, it’ll be fun to get back to the layout that we’ve been racing for a long time. It’ll add a few more passing areas, which you You’ll also see quite a bit of dive-bombing around those corners. It’ll make for an exciting race. We just need to stay out of trouble and I feel like we can have a good day. — Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Toyota driver Denny Hamlin
• “Sonoma is a fun road course and just a great market and experience for many people who will be experiencing their first race. I know we have many of our West Coast friends heading out for the weekend, as the area offers some unforgettable experiences. I’ve been in the mix and close before in Sonoma, so figuring out left-handers and right-handers this weekend is key to getting our Kohler Power Reserve Ford ready and ready to go for Sunday. — Brad Keselowski, owner/driver of the #6 RFK Racing Ford