2021 NASCAR Preview: Week 16 – Sonoma

Feel like I haven’t seen you in two years!

We’ve come to yet another road course on the road course-heavy 2021 NASCAR schedule. We’ve got some new tracks on the schedule, but this one might FEEL new to some since we didn’t run here at all in 2020! Exciting times, returning to the hills of wine country.

Here’s what to look for:

Martin Truex Jr. has won BOTH of the last two races here. 2019, and 2018. He hasn’t tore up the road courses this season like we thought he might, but this might get him back to that feeling of familiarity. If you win the last two, you’ve gotta feel good going for three straight.

Chase Elliott is the big favorite today, even though he hasn’t had the success here that he would have hoped for. He managed a Win at the last road course we hit (Circuit of the Americas), so maybe he’s ready to claim a trophy here, too.

-In 19 Sonoma races, Kevin Harvick paces the field with an average finish of 12.7. That is quite a record, and furthermore, he was the last winner before Truex went back-to-back. Can Harvick nail down his second Sonoma Win today?

Kurt Busch is actually our 2nd best driver in terms of average finish over the last ten races (9.0; Harvick’s record there is 7.7), and with seven Top 10s. It has been a while since Kurt Busch has been “the favorite” to win at any course, long removed from the days when Bristol was his stomping ground. In any event, statistics are statistics, and you can’t argue with numbers.

-We don’t really have a road course guy this time around (A.J. Allmendinger was in Mid-Ohio yesterday!), so it’ll be interesting if someone really comes out of left field to take it. Michael McDowell‘s place in the Playoffs could be in danger if we get more new winners this season, so let’s keep an eye on him. He won the Daytona 500, and his spot isn’t secure. Could this be the race that nets him a 2nd Win?

Ok, we haven’t made any food here at Sonoma, and with the Auto Club Speedway being reduced to one (and “none” for 2020) event, we’re barely in California. In any event, we’ve drummed up something else, but still in the sandwich family:

French Dip! We already wolfed these things down, and my, were they moist! I had two, Leese and Mason each bagged one. Good stuff. I think we’ve all had this before, or at least seen it, so I won’t explain too much. It is hot as heck here today, and I’m sure it is dang hot in the hills of Sonoma. Glad I didn’t just eat a sandwich and then have to hop in a car for four hours. They’ll have fun, I’ll be stuffed and happy on the couch. Great job, Leese!

Coverage of the race today starts on FS1 at 4:00pm, green flag scheduled for 4:14pm.

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