NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Save Mart 350 at Sonoma

After a year hiatus due to the pandemic, NASCAR returns to Sonoma Raceway. Coming on the heels of the history-making 269th win for Hendrick Motorsports with last week's race winner Kyle Larson on the pole, will the Hendrick team keep the momentum going? Or will Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. set a record of his own with a third straight win in a NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway. That record would tie Martin with NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon for the series-most consecutive wins at Sonoma Raceway. Stay tuned.
Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race and Track
Both with 5 - Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch
Both with 4 - Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch
Both with 3 - Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman

Top 12 Sonoma Driver Ratings

Kurt Busch


Martin Truex Jr.


Kevin Harvick


Kyle Busch


Chase Elliott


Ryan Newman


Denny Hamlin


Kyle Larson


Joey Logano


Brad Keselowski


Ryan Blaney


Daniel Suarez


Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2019 races (15 total) among active drivers at Sonoma Raceway. 
This Week's Pick Strategy: Think road racing and short track. Sonoma is unique compared to other road-race tracks and has a lot of short track characteristics. I will focus my picks on wheelmen who have demonstrated acumen with making lefts and rights and have spent time learning how to read a track as well as how to adjust their lines to run toward the front.

2019 Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

My No-Brainer Pick: Martin Truex Jr.

My Final Four: Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, and Daniel Suarez.

Second-Look Driver:
This week's second-look driver is Chris Buescher. Chris has run pretty decently at Sonoma in the past and with the way he has able to get everything out of the car this year, I'm keeping my eye on him this week. This is Chris' fifth Cup start at Sonoma. He has an average finish of 19.3 in four prior starts, including a best finish of 12th in the 2018 race. In 2019, he finished 16th after starting 10th. So far at road courses this season, Chris has finished 11th at the Daytona Road Course and 13th at COTA.

Last week's second-look driver William Byron had a respectable run at his home track. In fact, his fourth-place finish was his track best for Charlotte Motor Speedway. William started the weekend with a great qualifying effort, putting the No. 24 Patriotic Liberty University Chevy fourth on the grid. He battled all race long for a win despite never getting the handling of the car to his liking. William scored precious stage points in all but one stage of the 600-mile race by earning Top 5s in the first three stages, and he led19 laps.

With the finish, William scored his sixth Top 5 finish of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. “It was hard racing. I was trying to get second there and cost myself third. With this package, you just have to get the side draft at the perfect spot. I feel like we just missed where that was. We just didn’t have quite enough. Congrats to the No. 5 (Kyle Larson, race winner) guys. They were lights out. We’ll go to work and try to get that.”

Points to Ponder:
  • Four NASCAR Cup Series active Sonoma winners are entered this weekend: Martin Truex Jr (3); Kyle Busch (2); Kevin Harvick (1); and Kurt Busch (1). 
  • The Busch Pole position is the most prolific starting position in the field, producing more series wins (five) than any other starting position at Sonoma Raceway. 
  • Hendrick Motorsports leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Sonoma with six victories.
  • Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers in the series in runner-up finishes at Sonoma with two.
  • Kurt Busch leads all active drivers in Top 5 finishes with seven.
  • Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch lead all active drivers in Top 10 finishes with 10 each. 
  • Martin Truex Jr. leads all active Cup drivers with 213 laps led in 15 Sonoma Raceway starts.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your final picks by 4 p.m. ET on race day Sunday, June 6th.

Enjoy the race!

Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 15 years. She launched  NASCAR Fantasy Fusion for Skirts & Scuffs in October 2011. Each week, Carol pores through statistics and combs through her personal notebooks to arm fans with analysis and picking strategies that will leave their friends wondering how they got so smart. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. She is also part of the distinguished NASCAR Expert Picks panel at formerly called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet.
When she isn’t wielding her fantasy-racing superpowers, you’ll find Carol hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat, or executing downtown revitalization projects for a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Save Mart 350 at Sonoma NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Sunday, June 06, 2021 Rating: 5