Magic Mile Notebook: Toyota/Save Mart 350 At Sonoma Raceway

(Press Release from New Hampshire Motor Speedway)

Carl Edwards celebrated victory in the Sprint Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway in 2014 (Photo: Courtesy New Hampshire Motor Speedway)

Carl Edwards celebrated victory in the Sprint Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway in 2014 (Photo: Courtesy New Hampshire Motor Speedway)


Speedway Gets Even SAFER
NASCAR race weekend preparations are well underway at NHMS, as track crews have begun installation of an additional 1,850 feet of SAFER barrier in turns 2, 4 and the backstretch. In 2003, NHMS installed 2,820 feet of SAFER barrier in all four turns. The additional barrier puts 4,670 feet of SAFER Barrier around the Magic Mile.
Photos of installation can be downloaded here
Password: Nhmsmedia

Icon Bret Michaels to Headline July Pre-Race Concert
It’s going to be “Nothing but a Good Time” at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when Bret Michaels hits the concert stage prior to the New Hampshire 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on July 19. Speedway officials recently announced that the multi-platinum global superstar will play in front of a sea of fans on the Magic Mile frontstretch. Michaels, who is best known as the front man of Poison, winning the most viewed season of Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2010, and starring on the multi-season reality TV show Rock of Love, will visit New Hampshire as part of his True Grit Tour. Michaels will take the stage at 10:45 a.m., prior to driver introductions. The free concert is included for all fans that have purchased a ticket to the New Hampshire 301, which will drop the green flag at 1:30 p.m. Stage-front access will be available with the purchase of a pre-race pit pass.

Speedway Unveils Short Track Rewards Program
Short track racing is family track racing, and New Hampshire Motor Speedway is doing its part to ensure that fans and families alike are rewarded for their dedication to racing in New England. Speedway officials recently announced the launch of its new Short Track Passport, an incentive-based program that rewards fans for their support at local tracks. With pro sports feeder organizations like the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Providence Bruins, Hartford Wolf Pack, Portland Sea Dogs and Pawtucket Red Sox spread across the region, minor league sports define the New England sports landscape. Short track racing falls under that feeder system umbrella, setting the stage for future NASCAR drivers down the road.

Adam Sandler Returns Home to Serve as Grand Marshal
Mega movie star Adam Sandler will return home on July 19 when he serves as the special 25th Anniversary Grand Marshal for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Sandler, a native of Manchester, N.H., will star in this summer’s action comedy “Pixels”, which will hit theaters July 24. New Hampshire Motor Speedway officials made the Sandler announcement on Wednesday night in front of fans and media at the speedway’s 25th anniversary event with New Englander and Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano. Sandler will participate in driver introductions on the Magic Mile frontstretch and attend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers meeting prior to giving the command for drivers to start their engines, moments before the running of the New Hampshire 301.

On the track this week …
Celebrating its 25th anniversary as the largest sports and entertainment facility in New England, the Magic Mile is at full speed as this week the speedway will host:

· 6/27 NH Karting Association

· 6/27 COM Sports Car Club

· 6/28 Club Loose

· 7/2 NH Cycling Club

· 7/4 Club Loose

· 7/5 North East Mini Stock Tour

· 7/5 Pro All Stars Series

· 7/9 NH Cycling Club

7/10 Rusty Wallace Driving Experience


The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to action on Sunday at Sonoma Raceway in northern California:

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Next Race: Toyota/Save Mart 350
The Place: Sonoma Raceway
The Date: Sunday, June 28
The Time: 3 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports 1, 2 p.m.
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM Ch. 90
Distance: 218.9 miles (110 laps)


Pattern Of Parity At Sonoma
You don’t have to be Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking to notice the pattern of parity at Sonoma Raceway.

The last 10 races at the road course have produced 10 different winners. Two of those drivers – Tony Stewart in 2005 and Jimmie Johnson in 2010 – went on to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

All 10 previous winners will compete for the checkered flag in Sunday’s Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway (3 p.m. on FOX Sports 1): Carl Edwards (2014), Martin Truex Jr. (2013), Clint Bowyer (2012), Kurt Busch (2011), Jimmie Johnson (2010), Kasey Kahne (2009), Kyle Busch (2008), Juan Pablo Montoya (2007), Jeff Gordon (2006) and Tony Stewart (2005).

The only track with a longer active streak of different winners is New Hampshire Motor Speedway with 11.

Gordon Returns To Hometown Track For Final Time
Northern California is about to witness the end of an era.

Native son Jeff Gordon, born in Vallejo, California, will make his final start at Sonoma Raceway – a track he has dominated during his career – in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350. In all, Gordon has finished third or better in 13 of his 22 starts at Sonoma.

Still, Gordon has not visited Victory Lane at the 12-turn loop since 2006, but boasts the track record for wins (5), Coors Light Pole Awards (5), average finish (7.9), top fives (14), top 10s (18) and laps led (457).

Here is a list of drivers second in each category for comparison: wins (four drivers, 2), Coors Light Pole Awards (Ricky Rudd, 4), average finish (Dale Earnhardt, 8.4), top fives (Ricky Rudd, 10), tops 10s (Mark Martin, 13), laps led (Rusty Wallace, 171).

Gordon stands as NASCAR’s all-time leader in road course wins with nine.

Ring It Up: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Engages In Some Road Course Racing
For 12 consecutive years, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has held the title of “NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver.” As of a week ago, he now has a new one: ‘fiancé.’

Earnhardt proposed to his girlfriend Amy while on a vacation in Germany (spoiler alert: she said yes), and sealed the deal with a shiny engagement ring. The circular ring is meant to be a symbol of eternity. So it’s odd timing that Earnhardt now heads to one of the few NASCAR tracks that isn’t a circle – Sonoma Raceway.

It took a while, but Earnhardt might finally love Sonoma as much as Amy. After 15 starts, he got his first top-10 finish at Sonoma last year, a third-place result. Still, his average Sonoma finish of 20.3 makes the track tied with Homestead for his second worst, behind only Watkins Glen (22.4), the other road course track in the series.

Earnhardt has all but locked up a spot in this year’s Chase thanks to a win at Talladega, and now aims to grow his Chase bonus points total. All 16 Chase drivers will have their points reset to 2,000 to start the Chase, with three additional bonus points added for each win in the regular season.

McMurray Goes For Another Sonoma Coors Light Pole
Most people visit Sonoma for the wine.

Jamie McMurray prefers its Coors Light (Pole Award, anyway).

The No. 1 Chevrolet driver has won the last two Coors Light Pole Awards at Sonoma Raceway. His 2007 Sonoma pole gives him three for his career at the West Coast road course.

McMurray turned last year’s pole into a fourth-place finish. Otherwise, he hasn’t done well at Sonoma. His only other top-10 finish there was a runner-up showing in 2004.

NoCal Products Hoping For Home Cooking
Though Jeff Gordon wears the crown as ‘Homecoming King,’ two other local drivers can upend him in Sonoma – Kyle Larson, from Elk Grove, and AJ Allmendinger from Los Gatos. Larson, the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year, finished 28th in his lone Sonoma start, last season. Allmendinger has two top 10s at Sonoma, and won last year’s Watkins Glen race – the second of two NSCS road-course races.

Schwarzenneger Saddles Up As Sonoma Pace Car Driver
Arnold Schwarzenneger is a man with many talents, and faces.

He’s been a Terminator, Mr. Freeze, a governor, even a kindergarten cop.

On Sunday, he will lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field to green as the Official Pace Car Driver for the Toyota / Save Mart 350.

Schwarzenneger will pilot a 2016 Toyota Mirai, a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle that emits only water from its exhaust. It will be the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle used as a pace car in Sonoma. As Governor, Schwarzenegger championed and established California’s Hydrogen Highway, the nation’s first network of hydrogen fueling stations.

The long-time actor/bodybuilder/politician joins a star-studded list of celebrities who have participated in NASCAR festivities this year, including: Vince Vaughn, Guy Fieri, Bill Goldberg, SpongeBob SquarePants and Rob Gronkowski.

Hopefully, he’ll be back.

Stewart A Mobil(e) One At Sonoma
Tony Stewart – a multi-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and sure-fire NASCAR Hall of Famer – has struggled so far in 2015.

He claims only one top-10 finish–a sixth-place showing in a wild rainy race at Bristol in April.

Still, Stewart can make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with a win and top-30 points finish.

Sonoma Raceway could be where he clinches that win.

The No. 14 Chevrolet driver is a Mobil(e) one at the Northern California Race track. (Get it? Mobil 1 is his sponsor. #punny)

Stewart owns two wins (12.5 percent), five top fives (31.2 percent), nine top 10s (56.2 percent) and a Coors Light Pole Award in 16 starts at Sonoma. Among active drivers at the 1.99-mile road course, he boasts the most fastest laps run (79), the second-best average running position (12.0), the second-most quality passes (274) and the third-best driver rating (98.8).

Bowyer Aims For First Win At Strongest Track
Clint Bowyer has a reputation as a short-track ace. But in actuality, his best track is the Sonoma Raceway road course. He has an average finish there of 9.2, which make the Northern California track his best. He comes into this race with four consecutive top 10s at Sonoma, including a win in 2012.

In that 2012 win, Bowyer had an incredible average running position of 1.8, along with 71 laps led and a driver rating of 142.8 (a perfect rating is 150.0).

History Lesson: All Gordon All The Time
Jeff Gordon will retire as the winningest driver in Sonoma Raceway history. Despite more than 20 years of dominance at the track, winning did not always come easy for the California native.

Gordon has five wins at the Northern California track, including three in a row from 1998-2000. But as the old adage goes, Gordon had to first experience the agony of losing at his “home track” before achieving the ecstasy of victory.

In 1996, Gordon started sixth and worked his way into the lead on Lap 57 of 74. A late caution set up a restart with six laps remaining with NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace lining up second, behind Gordon. Wallace was able to pass Gordon for the win shortly after the restart, with Gordon eventually finishing sixth.

The following season, Gordon started third and was on race leader Mark Martin’s bumper throughout the final lap. Gordon gave one last attempt to get around Martin in the hairpin turn but came up short once again.

In 1998, everything clicked for Gordon, who started the weekend by winning his first Sonoma pole. Gordon led 48 laps, including the final 11, to win his first road course race and move into first place in the standings. It also kicked off a remarkable stretch of seven wins in nine races that propelled Gordon to his third career championship..

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