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Jun 18, 2014 - 06:59 AM
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2014 Sonoma: Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Jun 18, 2014 - 06:56 AM
NASCAR News
2014 Sonoma: Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview


The greatest race cars drivers in the world compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), and many of them carry the Chevrolet brand on the front of their Chevy SS race cars. Out of 36 points paying races, the drivers and teams face the challenge of turning left and right only twice a year at two road course venues on the NSCS circuit. This weekend, they will take on Sonoma Raceway, a 1.99-mile, 12-turn road course nestled in the Napa Valley area of Northern California.

 

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Chevrolet drivers have been victorious 10 times in the 25 races held at this track, making the Bowtie Brand the most successful manufacturer at Sonoma. And after making five consecutive trips to Winner’s Circle in the last five weeks, Chevrolet looks to turn right into Victory Lane once again on a fourth different type of track. So far in 2014 Chevrolet drivers and teams have wins on superspeedways, short tracks, concrete tracks, and 1.5-mile venues. To win at the first road course race of the season would further reward all the members of Team Chevy for their continuous dedication and hard work.

The task will not be easy. Not only will drivers have to compete with each other, their greatest task of the day will be staying on the 1.99-mile course and battling elevation changes and narrow braking corners. The most recent Chevy NSCS winner at Sonoma was Jimmie Johnson in 2010. Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon is the most successful active driver at Sonoma with five poles and five wins at the difficult course.

The Save Mart 350 is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday June 22nd. Live coverage will be available on TNT, PRN Radio, Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and NASCAR.com.

TEAM CHEVY IN NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES (NSCS) COMPETITION:
· Chevrolet has won 37 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Manufacturers’ Championships

· Team Chevy drivers have scored 727 wins and 654 poles in NSCS competition

CHEVROLET ON THE TRACK—SONOMA RACEWAY:
Chevrolet drivers have won 10 of 25 races at Sonoma Raceway. Victories by current Team Chevy drivers are:
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Panasonic Chevrolet SS, has five victories at Sonoma Raceway (’98, ’99, ’00, ’04 & ’06)
Tony Stewart, No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, has two (2) wins at Sonoma Raceway (’01 & ’05)
Kurt Busch, No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, has one (1) win at Sonoma Raceway (’11)
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, has one (1) trophy from Sonoma Raceway (’10)
Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, has one (1) victory at Sonoma Raceway (’09)
Martin Truex, Jr., No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet SS, has one (1) win at Sonoma Raceway (’13)

A Chevrolet driver has won one (1) of the last four (4) races at Sonoma Raceway
A Chevrolet driver has sat on the pole at Sonoma 11 times
Team Chevy drivers have scored 54 top-five and 95 top-10 finishes at Sonoma Raceway
A Chevrolet has led 992 laps (40.6% of possible 2,441 laps) at Sonoma Raceway

CHEVROLET SPOTLIGHT: Chevrolet is the winningest manufacturer at Sonoma Raceway with 10 victories in 25 races.

BOWTIE BULLET: Of active drivers Chevrolet’s Jeff Gordon leads the way with five pole awards and five wins on the 1.99-mile course.

DID YOU KNOW? Since its launch in late 2010, Chevrolet Volt owners have accumulated more than half a billion all-electric miles. Additionally, based on a General Motors’ study of more than 300 Volts in service in California for more than 30 months, many owners are exceeding the EPA-rated label of 35 miles of EV range per full charge, with about 15 percent surpassing 40 miles of range.

ENGINEER EXPERTISE FROM THE GARAGE AREA –– PAT SUHY, MANAGER, CHEVROLET RACING – NASCAR GROUP MANAGER:
“Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, the No. 48 Chevy SS crew and Hendrick Motorsports on winning at Michigan last Sunday. That marked Hendrick Motorsports and Chevy's 5th win in a row in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on a weekend that saw Chevrolet sweep the Cup and Nationwide events at that track. Capturing the Michigan Heritage Trophy that MIS awards to the winning manufacturer in each Cup race of the season made it even more special.

“Heading into the first road race of the season at Sonoma Raceway is always exciting. We get to see our driver’s expertise on a track that is challenging in many ways. The 1.99-mile road course has 12 turns and 160 feet of elevation change. The layout provides challenges, especially to get the power to the track at corner exit on the slower turns. On-track passing is difficult, making pit stops and fuel strategy two keys to winning.

“Optimizing forward traction and calculating fuel economy are two things that our Chevy teams spend at least some of their practice time on. Figuring out fuel economy in NASCAR is challenging since there isn't a fuel gauge in the car. Engineers have to work with weight measurements of the fuel cans to determine how much fuel goes into the car, and they have to estimate fuel economy based on practice information. During practice, they also have the benefit of being able to download data from the Engine Control Unit that runs the fuel injection system and keeps track of fuel flow to the engine. That information isn't available during the race; and figuring out how the changing conditions during a race affect the actual in-race fuel economy is a tough job, but critical to success at tracks where fuel strategy is important.

“With all the preparation and hard work that our teams and Chevy Racing engineers do every week, I think there's a good chance we'll extend our winning streak at Sonoma. I'm looking forward to seeing the race unfold, and to having another opportunity to visit Victory Lane with one of our teams on Sunday.”

WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE THE CHEVROLET SS RACE CARS?
This weeks’ race is at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. 23 Chevrolet SS will attempt to qualify at the 1.99-mile, 12-turn road course. Fans can watch and/or listen to all the action Sunday June 22nd on TNT, MRN Radio, Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and NASCAR.com

TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 PANASONIC CHEVROLET SS – POINTS LEADER
“I grew up in Vallejo – which is a few miles from the track in Sonoma – but I was always racing on ovals or dirt tracks as a kid. It was much later before I turned my first lap at Sonoma while in a driving school preparing for my first Cup start there. I immediately saw the challenges and the fun of racing at Sonoma and on road courses. We’ve worked hard as a team to be competitive on road courses and we’ve had a lot of success at Sonoma. But it’s not an easy track to conquer.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – 2ND IN STANDINGS
(ON FINALLY WINNING IN MICHIGAN.): “The stats always amaze me. I can’t believe we are at 69 wins. The great thing is between Mr. Hendrick, Chad and our sponsor Lowe’s, we have all been together through it all. So its 69 wins for all the Lowe’s employees too. I cherish every win as much as the other. It’s awesome to win at a track we never have won at. Our engine shop is very strong and the performance across the board- even with our leased engine program – has been spot on.”

(ON HIS WEEK LEADING TO SONOMA.): “We have a busy week leading up to the race at Sonoma this weekend. It’s always nice to be able to head home to (El Cajon / San Diego area). It’s going to be a lot of laughs with family and close friends – and great to see everyone who comes out to the golf tournament and helps Chani and I raise money for kids’ education. This is a special week for me and heading home with a win is even more special.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 KELLEY BLUE BOOK CHEVROLET SS – 3RD IN STANDINGS
“We started out the season when we won at Daytona, man, it made the rest of the year a lot more relaxing, a lot easier, less stress and it makes it fun, because you can just go to the race track and just race and not worry about points. We went to ‑‑ we used to ‑‑ last year and every damned year we would test at those road courses, Road Atlanta and here and there and work ourselves to death trying to figure out how to go faster at a road course, knowing damned good and well I wasn't going to run well because I don't know how to drive them. But I can run okay at the Glen every once in a while, but Sonoma, it's embarrassing, man, I haven't finished in the top 11 there ever.

“We just decided not to work that hard and just go there without a test and wing it, and we got teammates to test it and we'll see what they did and liked and we can go there with an attitude of it's not ‑‑ we don't have to dig and gouge for every single position and we don't have to worry if it's a total disaster or if it doesn't work out, if we get spun out on the last lap. We can just go have fun. Driving around the track and running that particular race, it is fun, but at the end when you get run over or you don't finish well, you're so pissed off, and it's such a long way home. It's a terrible trip home when you don't run good at Sonoma. We don't have to worry about that now.”

KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – 8TH IN STANDINGS
“I’m really excited I like road racing a lot. I haven’t done a whole lot of it so I don’t know it 100 percent yet. I got to go do Bondurant last week and I feel like I learned a little bit that will help me a lot. I’m excited to get to Sonoma just because of the stuff that I learned at Bondurant I hadn’t known really until now. I think I will be even better when I get to Sonoma. I did three Nationwide races last year and felt like I was pretty competitive at all three of those races. Really looking forward to going to Sonoma for my home town race. I get to see a lot of friends, go to a sprint car race nearby to go watch on Saturday night. It’s going to be a lot of fun going home.”

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 OUTBACK/BUDWEISER FOLDS OF HONOR CHEVROLET SS – 9TH IN STANDINGS
“I think the biggest difference between Sonoma and Watkins Glen is that the speeds are drastically different. Sonoma is a much tighter course with sharper corners and a lot less speed where you don’t really even use fourth gear, unless you’re saving gas. It’s a much slower track than Watkins Glen and the tires fall off a lot more than they do at The Glen. So, you’ve got to get your car to technically be very good as it turns the corner, but also keep track of the forward grip as you go through a run.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET SS – 11TH IN STANDINGS
"Sonoma presents a different kind of challenge for us because track position is so very important. You get a very limited number of opportunities to make your car better, as well as make up track position. If you have one bad pit stop, it pretty much takes you out of the hunt. You have to have a really good race car. Sonoma presents a different kind of racing not just because it's road-course racing, but the number of pit stops we make."

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 RICHMOND/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – 13TH IN STANDINGS
"I enjoy racing at Sonoma (Raceway). This year we are bringing a brand new chassis, so I'm interested to see what happens. I wouldn't mind if we had a couple more road course races on the schedule to break up the oval racing a bit. Racing in Sonoma and Watkins Glen (International) is a lot different from what we do week-to-week. There is a lot of shifting involved and we make both right and left turns. I would say the key here is to keep the car on course."

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/BASS PRO SHOPS CHEVROLET SS – 16TH IN STANDINGS
“I just like the road courses. I’ve always liked Sonoma. It’s really a driver’s track. It’s tough to make your car drive perfect all day. You can have a really good car, but it’s going to slide around and you’re going to struggle for grip, and that’s what makes it so fun. You have to do the work behind the steering wheel.”

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW CHEVROLET SS – 17TH IN STANDINGS
"Knockout qualifying will definitely be interesting. I've never been to Sonoma Raceway. It will definitely be a rookie going there. It's a track I've never been to on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit. When I get there, there will be a learning curve. We'll shut that timing and scoring system off and just try and get me better as a driver. We'll work hard the entire time. From what I've heard, tires are everything so qualifying will probably be one or two laps and that will be your fastest lap."

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 GREAT CLIPS CHEVROLET SS – 19TH IN STANDINGS
The Sonoma road course is so much different than say The Glen (Watkins Glen). It’s definitely slower in the corners, and the pace falls off so much at Sonoma. I feel like at times you are at somewhat of a Martinsville type short-track. Really everybody gets close together, and you are getting beat by wheel spin or not. I enjoy Sonoma. I think it’s a great place to race and great country out there. I look forward to that.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 CESSNA CHEVROLET SS – 20TH IN STANDINGS
“I really like Sonoma. I like the environment out there; other than the time change, there is nothing that I don’t like about Sonoma. Historically I have qualified really well, including winning the pole last year. I like road racing mostly just because It’s different. I think the key to racing at Sonoma is staying out of trouble on the restarts. It can happen at the front, back or middle of the field, but if you can get through turn-four and turn-seven on the restarts, the rest is just about having a good car.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 KINGSFORD/CLOROX CHEVROLET SS – 21ST IN STANDINGS
“We can’t put every egg in one basket and say we have to win this race because if we do then it’s just disappointing if we don’t. If we go there and have a solid day and just have a chance to win the race, that’s all we can do. I hope we can do that. We had two days of testing there and we had really good speed in the car. It all comes down to rear grip at Sonoma Raceway. ECR Engines have a lot of horsepower and you want to put it down to the racetrack. That place especially if it gets hot out there, it’s so easy to burn off the rear tires in five or six laps. Then it’s a long stint when you do that. You have to just ease the rear tires. If you can make your rear tires last longer than most people, then you have a shot to win the race.”

CASEY MEARS, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS – 24TH IN STANDINGS
"Sonoma is always a race we look forward to. This weekend, we're bringing a brand new car that we tested at VIR. The test went really well and we're hoping everything we learned will translate into a strong run for our GEICO team this week."

MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET SS – 25TH IN STANDINGS
"Returning to Sonoma this year will be pretty special for me. Winning on the Sonoma road course race last year was a major highlight of my career. It will be nice to go to an event with the label as the defending champion. But before you conquer the 12-turn, technical circuit you must have all of your ducks in order. It’s not an easy course by any means, but if the setup is right then you will have a shot at a victory. When it comes to winning, this is one race that has been circled on the schedule. The Furniture Row cars were strong last year on the road courses and we recently had a good test session at VIR (Virginia International Raceway). There are so many excellent road course drivers right now and I am sure this race has been circled on their calendars as well. Sonoma is a great race that takes place at one of the most beautiful settings on our schedule."

KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – 26TH IN STANDINGS
“Sonoma has always been a sentimental favorite to me – I think that track helped put me on the map when I won there in a Southwest Tour race in 1999. The garage area sometimes grumbles when we go to road courses. I think that mentality has changed. Everybody has to accept that road courses are part of the NASCAR culture. There are the few that still think that Sonoma is a tough track and they don’t find it quite as appealing as Watkins Glen. For me, I grew up racing there, so it’s easy for me to see it as part of the NASCAR culture.”

DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – 28TH IN STANDINGS
“I’m very comfortable on road courses. I have a lot of fun. We tested at Road Atlanta a few weeks ago with Tony (Stewart). I have a lot of fun. Hopefully it goes better than last year. The road course races weren’t very much fun and they weren’t fun to drive. In the Nationwide Series I had a lot of fun and led races and ran well. Our cars are a lot better this year and hopefully that shows this weekend.”

JUSTIN ALLGAIER, NO. 51 ACCUDOC SOULUTIONS CHEVROLET SS – 29TH IN STANDINGS
“I always enjoy going to road courses and I’ve typically done pretty well on them. Sonoma [Raceway] is going to be a big challenge for me. I’ve never raced there before, so it will take me a little bit of time to get used to the track. I’m racing in the K&N Pro Series West race this weekend to gain some experience before Sunday and I think that will be very helpful to me. The good news is my crew chief, Steve Addington, has a lot of experience at Sonoma and even has a couple of wins there. I’ll lean on him for a lot of guidance this weekend."

MICHAEL ANNETT, NO. 7 PILOT FLYING J CHEVROLET SS – 30TH IN STANDINGS
"It's my first time at Sonoma, so I'm not sure what all is in store, but I have taken precautions. I'll watch in-car videos of previous races right up until I get on the track. Running in the K&N West race there for Steve Portenga Racing will also be a big benefit. I plan on making the entire weekend a learning process."


Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Statistics
Manufacturers Championships
Total (1949 – 2013): 37
First title for Chevrolet: 1958
Highest number of consecutive titles: 11 (2003-2013)

Years Won: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Drivers Championships
Total (1949 – 2013): 29
First Chevrolet champion: Buck Baker (1957)
Highest number of consecutive titles: 7 (2005 – ’11)

Years Won: 1957, 1960, 1961, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013

Event Victories
Record for total race wins in single season: 26 – (in 2007)

2014 STATISTICS:
Wins: 9
Poles: 7
Laps led: 2771
Top-five finishes: 37
Top-10 finishes: 85

CHEVROLET IN NASCAR SPRINT CUP CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:
Total Chevrolet race wins: 727(1949 – to date); (2,405 possible = 30.0%)
Poles Won to Date: 654
Laps Lead to Date: 216,431
Top-Five Finishes to Date: 3,652
Top-10 Finishes to Date: 7,466

Total NASCAR Cup wins by Corporation, 1949 – To-Date

GM: 1,062
Chevrolet: 727
Pontiac: 155
Oldsmobile: 115
Buick: 65

Ford: 722
Ford: 622
Mercury: 96
Lincoln: 4

Chrysler: 466
Dodge: 217
Plymouth: 190
Chrysler: 59

Toyota: 65

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