Kevin Harvick heads home in search of his sixth season victory.
The NASCAR Cup Series is coming off its bye week and heading to California for, essentially, the second half of its season. It all begins at Sonoma Raceway, the home track of defending champ Kevin Harvick.
Harvick, a native of Bakersfield, Calif., is having a very dominant season. And he’ll line-up at the Toyota / Save Mart 350 looking for his sixth win of the year.
The Stewart-Haas Racing member will also be looking for a strong showing from his teammate Clint Bowyer. Boyer took the last checkered flag, winning the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway before the Series’ one-week hiatus.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a preview of a 2018 NASCAR race if we didn’t mention that there’s also Kyle Busch, winner of four series events this season. Busch finished fourth at MIS, one spot behind his brother Kurt.
And don’t count out Martin Truex Jr. Although he’s picked up only two wins compared to Kurt and Kevin’s combined nine, Truex Jr. is highly favored on the 1.99-mile course.
Left Turn, Left Turn, RIGHT!
If you’d like us to quit mentioning the same winning drivers this season, we’re sorry. Because you’re probably going to have to endure another week. That’s because four of the last six winners at Sonoma are Harvick (2017), Kyle Busch (2015), Truex Jr. (2013) and Bowyer (2012).
And while Harvick may be the hometown hero, Busch is the only one to race away with the checkered flag twice.
But hold on. Here’s the good news. Sonoma is a road course, the first such event of 2018. And nine different drivers won in the last 10 races. So really, it’s a perfect time to switch things up since drivers won’t only be turning left, but right too.
Harvick or Busch or Harvick or Busch?
Back to Harvick (sorry, not sorry). In his last three appearances at Sonoma, he’s never finished worse than sixth place. He also ranks third in laps in the top 15 (930) and boasts the fourth-best average finishing position (13.5) at Sonoma since 2015.
Not to mention, he’s finished in the top 10 in 12 of his 15 races this seasons and landed in the top five in four of his last five. Enough numbers for you? Yeah, we thought so.
But if you want a totally different NASCAR name we haven’t mentioned much this season, take a look at Joey Logano, who has been one of the most consistent, winless drivers this season. He has a dozen Top 10 finishes in 2018. Plus, he’s placed 12th or better in six of his last seven starts at Sonoma. Bonus: He’s finished in the Top 5 in two of the last three Sonoma starts.
Road Course Crash-tastic
It’s Kevin Harvick’s to lose.
Some numbers for you.
5: There are five races in between the two road courses. The other being Watkins Glen. Watkins Glen is a faster track. It’s also easier to navigate because …
10: The number of turns in the Sonoma road course. That course also includes elevation changes and tighter-than-normal straightaways. Expect lots of cutoffs and crashes.
1: Have you learned nothing else yet? It’s Kevin Harvick’s to lose. He’s having a great season, and also had two top-10 finishes on road courses last year.