Before the break for Father’s Day last week, Joey Logano won the race at Michigan, the first of six Fords in the Top 10. The boys now head far west to Sonoma — wine country — our first road course on the schedule and a place where Fords have only visited Victory Lane twice since a 2002 Ricky Rudd win.
Here’s what to look for:
–Kyle Larson has won our last two Poles here, and guess what? — he’s got another this year. He hasn’t yet turned that into a finish he can truly be proud of (in five attempts his best is a 12th in 2016), but today could be the day to improve upon that. They’ve added “the Carousel” back into the track layout for this race, a three-turn detour stationed between what was known as ‘Turn 4a” and “Turn 7” (and now we know why they’re called that). Being out front before the rest of the field gets to those turns all bunched up can only be to Larson’s advantage.
–William Byron has started many a race towards the front recently, and today is no exception. He, along with the rest of the starting Top 5, are all under 30 years of age. Interestingly, 16 of the last 18 Sonoma races have been won by drivers over the age of 30. Significant or not, you be the judge.
–Jimmie Johnson has our best average over the last ten races here, but he hasn’t had a Top 10 since 2015. Just a lone Win for Johnson on the road course out west, 2010’s race in which he led 55 of 110 laps and started 2nd.
–Martin Truex Jr. won this race last year (in addition to 2013’s event), but he only averages 19.8 here. A 37th in 2017, and a 42nd in both 2015 and 2010 make him a risky pick here, but three of his last six have been Top 5s. Buyer beware.
–Kevin Harvick sports a 10.0 average finish over his last ten attempts, and his last four runs here have landed in the Top 6. He was our 2017 victor as well, leading 24 laps that day. Today he starts 23rd, a scenario which would usually be offputting, but he launched from 22nd way back in 2007 and brought it home 2nd, so it can be done.
Coverage of the race starts on FS1 at 3:00pm, green flag scheduled for 3:13pm.