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Kevin Harvick to run K&N West race at Sonoma
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Texas Kevin Harvick will run the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race on June 24 at Sonoma Raceway , the driver announced via his SiriusXM Radio Show "Happy Hours" on Tuesday night. "(I'm) going to be the old guy that shows up," said Harvick, who will fittingly pilot the No. 4 ride. "I have fun when I go do those events. You'd love to win and you want to go out and do that obviously to be competitive, but it's really, it's just a series that gave me several breaks and several opportunities to showcase what I did as a kid." Harvick hasn't raced a fulltime season in the K&N Pro Series West since 1997. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver last raced in the series in 2007 at Iowa, where he celebrated his seventh series win. He said he wants to shine some light on a series where young drivers have to go through many ranks to eventually be successful in racing. "It's hard for young kids to come up," Harvick said. "So, if we can go out there and have fun and bring the west series some exposure and bring some attention to that, that would really be my main goal; to bring some attention to the race, the competitors, all the people that are a part of that series." #BreakingNews : Going back to my roots running the #NASCAR K&N West race at @RaceSonoma in June. #HappyHours circa 1998 pic.twitter.com/5bM5aUWpgy — Kevin Harvick (@KevinHarvick) April 4, 2017 Harvick will head to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 (Sunday, April 9, 1:30 p.m. ET on FOX).
Toyota signs extension with Sonoma Raceway
The deal will marks 10 years of sponsorship with the Sonoma track
Hot Lap: Sonoma Raceway
Take a virtual lap around Sonoma Raceway
Sonoma strategy simple: Just win, baby
RELATED: Big fantasy week at Sonoma -- get our advice SAN FRANCISCO -- Looking out over a sunny and scenic San Francisco Bay -- Alcatraz Island in the foreground and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance -- reigning Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin lunched with media members on Thursday ahead of Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at nearby Sonoma Raceway . It's the first of two road course NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races of the season and the challenging 1.99-mile, 12-turn Northern California track has crowned seven different race winners in the last seven years. Kasey Kahne (2009), Jimmie Johnson (2010), Clint Bowyer (2012) and Carl Edwards (2014) are on that list. Martin Truex Jr . (2013) and Kurt Busch (2011) are also among the recent victors. And who could forget Kyle Busch 's triumphant win here last year -- his first victory since returning from severe leg injuries after missing the first 11 races of the year. He went on to win three of the next four races after Sonoma , including three in a row, to ensure his place in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason field, and he ultimately hoisted his first championship trophy. With a new Chase format that rewards regular-season winners with a position in the 16-driver, 10-race playoff format, the emphasis on winning has never been greater. It also has created a unique set of circumstances where early-season winners feel they can use other races to test new ideas and feel out nuances to their car that may pay out in the fall playoffs. But because there is no road course in the 10-race Chase, this week's stop at Sonoma Raceway is a unique offering on the schedule. And Hamlin -- who has yet to win on a road course -- says the lack of a road course event in the Chase does affect the approach this weekend. "There really isn't any experimenting here," Hamlin said. "Unless someone in the road-course department has come up with a different setup and is like, 'Let's try this,' you're really not coming with an experimental car or anything like that. This is what you've got. "This is a big event, we take a lot of pride in running really well out here in Sonoma . It's a long way to come just to go through any motions and pack up on plane and go home. I get as frustrated here as anywhere when I don't run well and I'm as proud, and have my chest out when I do run well. It's a big race for us personally and for team members. It'd be a trophy I'd love to have." WATCH: Hamlin previews race while driving through city The other side of it is that for drivers who have excelled on road courses, the Sonoma race -- and the Watkins Glen event in August -- stand as two prime opportunities to earn a Chase playoff spot. Jamie McMurray , who has four top-five finishes in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Kyle Larson -- who won Daytona's 24-hour sports car race in 2015 -- consider these two tracks to be potential difference-makers. They both are still looking for a win this season. McMurray has won three pole positions at Sonoma , but his best showing was a runner-up back in 2004. His only other top-five finish (fourth place) came two years ago. Larson has two top-five starts at Sonoma , but his best Cup finish is 15th here last year. Who could forget AJ Allmendinger 's dramatic and emotional victory at Watkins Glen in 2014? The California native won the pole at Sonoma last year -- and started on the outside pole in 2014 -- but ended up in 37th place both times. His best Sonoma showing is seventh in 2009. "There's 10 of us (2016 race winners) with nothing to lose, and we're being super aggressive right now," said Hamlin, driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 FedEx Toyota. "Then the other 30, this is their opportunity to punch their ticket in to the Chase and they are getting more aggressive. "No one is looking at points at Sonoma . They're out here to win. It's the only type of course I haven't won on, except in the XFINITY Series. It used to be I'd come to the road-course races and finish in the top 10 pretty easily. Now it's just a battle."
Luke Wilson named Sonoma Sprint Cup Series pace car driver
Perhaps inspired by Darlington Raceway 's successful throwback program, Sonoma Raceway is going to be bringing a little bit of old school to its race weekend later this month. Actor Luke Wilson -- predominantly of "Old School" fame -- will drive a 2016 Toyota Camry pace car to kick off the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, June 26. Wilson is also known for his comedic roles in films including "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," "Legally Blonde," "Idiocracy," "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tenenbaums." The Texas native currently stars in Showtime’s new series "Roadies," which also premieres on June 26. The show follows the lives of a tight-knit group of rock-n roll-roadies working on the tour for a famous rock band. The show marks the first television series created by renowned film director Cameron Crowe ("Almost Famous") and his partnership with J.J. Abrams ("Lost", "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" ) , who is executive producer. "I feel incredibly honored to be asked to lead the field of cars to the green," said Wilson in a track release. "I have never done anything like this before and I'm really excited to start off the race at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 ." This will mark the first time Wilson has served as an Official Pace Car Driver at a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. He will also be recognized during pre-race ceremonies and greet each NASCAR driver on stage during driver introductions. With Wilson on board, Sonoma is shaping up to be a nice little Sunday. Maybe after the race you can go to Lowe's. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath & Beyond. I don't know. I don't know if you'll have enough time.
Could Sonoma produce first win for Larson?
SONOMA , Calif. -- Kyle Larson was all smiles and thumbs-ups at Sonoma Raceway prior to Friday's opening practice on the challenging 2.52-mile Northern California road course. The scenic course is a little more than an hour drive from Larson's hometown of Elk Grove, California, and the 23-year old driver has proven himself a talented road course racer in his young career with a win in the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona and a victory here in Sonoma in the 2014 NASCAR K&N West Series race. All that aside, however, Larson is quite simply, just ready to win in the Sprint Cup ranks. He has two top-five finishes in the last five races, including a runner-up at Dover and a third place finish in the Sprint Cup Series' most recent race at Michigan. "I don't know about pressure, but it would be nice to be the next new person to win a (Sprint) Cup Series race," said Larson, driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet. "It's been a long time since a new person has won. There are a crop of us young guys in our early 20s that would like to get a win. Chase (Elliott) is probably realistically got the best chance. He has been so close week after week now. Austin (Dillon) started the year out really strong. But I like road courses a lot. So, we will try and get it this week." Larson has proven himself at Sonoma , setting the Sprint Cup Series track record during early round qualifying last year. He's had a pair of top-four starts but never a top-10 finish. His best Sprint Cup Series finish on a road course is fourth place at Watkins Glen during his 2014 rookie season. He was fastest in opening practice at Sonoma on Friday. "I'm getting more experience, but still I probably ran a little over 10 road course races in my life," Larson said with a smile. "But I like them because you can feel the car kind of move around a lot more. You can feel the suspension, so it feels more similar to kind of a dirt track. I don't know if it's the dirt track, but just sprint cars and stuff the suspension moves around a lot and you can feel the balance of the car. On this stuff you can too. "Where on the ovals our cars are so stiff and rigid you can't really feel a whole lot with them. I think that is why I can feel the a little bit better and these tracks get really slick and you have to hit your marks every lap which is something I feel like I'm okay at." Larson is also finding his groove with new crew chief Chad Johnston. The veteran came to Larson's team this year from the Stewart-Haas organization and Larson thinks a large reason he is running better is because the two are getting into sync now. After four finishes of 30th or worse in the first 11 races, Larson hasn't finished worse than 13th in the last four races. He's ranked 21st in the standings, 38 points behind 16th place rookie Ryan Blaney in the final Chase spot. "I haven't had any experience with a new crew chief coming in before Chad," Larson explained. "I haven't been in the sport very long, so I think when somebody new like that comes in from an established or championship winning race team like that or any race team really. It's hard for them to come in and make all the changes that they want right away. "It's kind of a process. It took some time, a couple of months and now we are building race cars the way Chad wants them built, the bodies all that stuff. It has made our level or speed in the race cars get quicker. I think that has been the main thing is Chad's influence has been key the last couple of months and we have been building the cars how he wants them. "I think Chad and Phil (Surgen) my engineer they have probably learned me now and the way I communicate and how big of an adjustment I need or how small. I just think it takes a little bit of time to get working together right and now we seem to be clicking." Nine times Larson has finished in the top-three and he had eight top-five finishes in his rookie season. He's led laps in three of the last four races. "We all want to win so bad," Larson said."We are all working hard to keep our cars fast and keep up with an ever-changing garage area. So, I guess the pressure is there to get the win while we are running well. "You look at Chip Ganassi in the past, they are probably that team you describe where we get so close and then we lose it and have to spend a year or half a season regrouping and getting back to where we need to be. "We have made huge gains so far this season. We just have to stay on top of it and hope we get a win."
Jimmie Johnson motivated by Sonoma's moving target
SONOMA , Calif. -- Jimmie Johnson is known for his California cool, but ask him about Sonoma Raceway and the six-time Sprint Cup Series champion becomes animated. He looks skyward for the right words to say, the body moves forward in the chair and the arms come up ever so slightly. Even after 77 victories in 16 years in the premier series, there are still proverbial dragons for Johnson to slay. One such dragon is the 1.99-mile road course here, where Johnson has won just once, back in 2010. The yearning for a victory in Sunday's Save Mart 350 (3 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is clearly evident on Johnson's face as he explains why he's highly motivated for this weekend. "I still have a personal thing for me, coming here, The Glen and Bristol," Johnson said. "Those three tracks. With my driving style and my background, those should be my best tracks and they're not. And it drives me crazy that they're not." Not so crazy is the fact Johnson is pretty much locked in the 2016 Chase with wins at Atlanta and Fontana. A victory at Sonoma would give the California native a sweep of NASCAR's races in the Golden State this year. He won at Sonoma and Fontana in 2010, but that was when NASCAR staged two events in a season at the Southern California track. In order to pull off the California double, he'll need to tame not only the 12 turns of the track, but also what has been an unpredictable event. Sonoma has produced 10 different winners over the past 11 races. "It's a wild-card race," Johnson said. "… But I think we've seen a real interesting shift in the last 10 years where the road-course ringers have come in and they aren't taking the trophies home. ... I think it really shows the versatility we have as drivers and the teams as well." To Johnson's point there aren't many road-course ringers on the entry list this year. Besides AJ Allmendinger , a Sprint Cup regular who won in 2014 at Watkins Glen en route to the Chase, Patrick Carpentier (No. 32 Go Fas Racing ) is the only driver who would fit the road-course ringer description. And like 'Dinger, who is from Los Gatos, Johnson (El Cajon) also hails from California. They are part of nine California drivers set for Sunday's race, including Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears (both from Bakersfield), Kyle Larson (Elk Grove), Josh Wise (Riverside), Matthew DiBenedetto (Grass Valley), Dylan Lupton (Sacramento) and Cole Whitt (Alpine). Would another win in California be just the tonic for Johnson, who has just one top-five finish in the past six races? "Absolutely," Johnson said. "First of all, there's nothing quite like winning. Winning is very special and unique in our sport. And the road courses, I felt like coming into my Cup career, that with my off-road background I would just excel and take off on road courses. But coming in, I was good for a couple of laps and I'd melt the tires off the car and I really had to learn discipline where to make time and where to save the tires. It's a tough balance."
Stewart snaps 84-race skid, foils Hamlin in Sonoma thriller
RELATED: Race results " Updated standings SHOP: Stewart gear SONOMA , Calif. -- Is Tony Stewart having fun yet? In his last year of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing, Stewart came to Sonoma Racing asserting on Friday he wasn't having much fun driving a Sprint Cup Series car. That all changed in Sunday's Toyota-Save Mart 350 at the 1.99-mile road course, where Stewart bulldozed Denny Hamlin into the outside wall in Turn 11, executing a dramatic last-lap pass for his first victory since June 2, 2013 at Dover to snap an 84-race losing skid. In the three years since that victory, a succession of injuries and a personal tragedy have limited the three-time champion's time in a Sprint Cup Series car and limited Stewart's effectiveness when he was behind the wheel of the No. 14 Chevrolet he co-owns with Gene Haas. RELATED: See Stewart's Victory Lane celebration But on Sunday, after a prescient pit call by crew chief Mike Bugarewicz put Stewart in the lead for a restart on Lap 91 of 110. Stewart held the top spot at the start/finish line for the rest of the race, but that hardly describes the excitement of the final lap. For the second straight circuit, Stewart wheel-hopped the No. 14 Chevrolet into Turn 7, and Hamlin took full advantage, giving Stewart a bump and charging past him. In hot pursuit through the esses and Turn 10, Stewart caught Hamlin in the hairpin (Turn 11) when Hamlin slipped and ran wide. "I made mistakes the last two laps," acknowledged Stewart, who missed the first eight races of the season after injuring his back in an ATV accident during the offseason. "I had just a little bit too much rear brake for Turn 7, and wheel-hopped it two laps in a row. I felt a nudge when I got down there and he knew where it was and he did the right thing doing it there." "But if I could get to him, he knew what was coming. He told me (after the race) he was proud of me. He knows what it means. We were teammates for a long time (at Joe Gibbs Racing ), and we respect each other a lot." Contact from Stewart's car sent Hamlin's No. 11 Toyota fish-tailing into the outside wall, but Hamlin held the runner-up spot, crossing the stripe .625 seconds behind the race winner. "I take that, but I'm probably going to get the (crap) beat out of me," Stewart said on his radio, after notching his third victory at Sonoma , his eighth on a road course and the 49th of his career. MORE: From 1 to 49, see all of Stewart's wins Though disappointed at the outcome, Hamlin didn't begrudge Stewart the victory, given the circumstances. Stewart needed a win to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , and with Sunday's result, Smoke is 32nd in the standings, nine points away from the 30th position he needs to achieve to become Chase-eligible. In other words, Stewart is all but a lock to compete for a fourth title in NASCAR's 10-race playoff. "I thought with two or three (laps) to go he pretty much had it, but he made a couple mistakes and allowed us to get pretty close," Hamlin said. "And then we just both wheel-hopped into 7, and I just let off my wheel-hop a little bit so I could get to his rear bumper and get him out of the groove just a touch. "It was perfectly executed, but I was going through the esses knowing that I needed to get the biggest gap that I could going into (Turn) 11, and when he was two back or so going into 11, I just ... I didn't run a low enough line in Turn 11 from wheel-hopping in Turn 7. I got the rears hot, wheel-hopped it a little bit again, got out of line, and obviously gave him the inside line." Third-place finisher Joey Logano was trailing the action into the final corner, hoping Hamlin and Stewart would take each other out. "Going into Turn 11, I was 100 percent sure that Denny was not going to win just by watching it, and we were right there on the cusp of trying to sneak one by," Logano said. Having opened up the inside lane in Turn 11, Hamlin shared Logano's sense of inevitability. "Once I knew he had position, and we had a wall on the other side of us, then I knew, pretty good chance, that we were going to go in the wall," Hamlin said. "I don't think he was going to leave it to chance, a drag race coming off Turn 11. We definitely had a car that should have won, but we were on the bad end of the deal." Had Stewart and Bugarewicz not chosen the perfect time to make a pit stop, however, Stewart almost certainly would not have won the race. With NASCAR officials scanning the track after reports of debris between Turns 6 and 7, Stewart and his crew chief decided to gamble and bring the car to the pits on Lap 86. NASCAR called the caution a lap later, and when all the rest of the contending cars pitted under yellow on Lap 88, Stewart inherited a lead he would hold -- with the exception of Hamlin's brief interlude from Turns 7 to 11 -- for the rest of the race. "It was just a chance that we took, a chance to get a win," Bugarewicz said. Coors Light Pole Award winner Carl Edwards -- who led 24 laps -- finished fourth, followed by Martin Truex Jr ., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch . Ryan Newman , Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch completed the top 10. Harvick retained the series lead by 35 points over second-place Kurt Busch . Road-racing expert AJ Allmendinger led 20 laps in the JTG Daugherty Racing No. 47 Chevrolet and finished 14th. His team was penalized for an uncontrolled tire on its final pit stop, knocking him from contention. Home-state driver Kyle Larson spent much of the day in the top five, but fell from the hunt with a pit-road speeding penalty in a Lap 70 stop. He finished 12th. Notes: Clint Bowyer , a winner at Sonoma in 2012, was sidelined after completing just five laps by an electrical issue that filled the cockpit of his No. 15 Chevrolet with smoke. "Smoke is never good in the cockpit and it stinks. Hell, I couldn't breathe," said Bowyer, who finished last in the 40-car field. … Former NASCAR Next driver Dylan Lupton finished 35th in his Sprint Cup debut as the last driver on the lead lap. … Sunday before the race, Toyota -- the race co-sponsor and the track's official vehicle -- announced a three-year extension of its partnership with Sonoma Raceway . The deal continues a sponsorship that has been in place since 2007. … The series' next race is scheduled Saturday at Daytona International Speedway , which will host the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (7:45 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM). Contributing: Staff reports
Dale Jr., Larson lead Friday practices at Sonoma
Practice 2 " Results Dale Earnhardt Jr . led the final Sprint Cup Series practice on Friday at Sonoma Raceway with a high-speed of 95.298 mph. The driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was fourth-fastest in the opening session at the Northern California road course. Casey Mears (No. 13 Germain Racing Chevrolet) was second-fastest to Earnhardt Jr. with a speed of 95.255 mph. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin (95.243 mph) and Carl Edwards (95.157 mph) were third and fourth-fastest, respectively. Defending race winner Kyle Busch was fifth-fastest (95.144 mph), completing the top-five fastest on the leaderboard. The No. 18 driver brought out a quick red flag during the final session when the left side of his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota struck a rabbit. Current Sprint Cup Series points leader Kevin Harvick was 18th-fastest (94.518 mph) in the Sprint Cup Series' final practice session of the weekend. Kyle Larson , who was fastest in the opening session, was 11th-fastest (94.963 mph) in the closing session. The Sprint Cup Series returns to the road course at 2:15 p.m. ET on Saturday for the Coors Light Pole Qualifying (FS1). Practice 1 " Results Kyle Larson soared to the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leaderboard Friday at Sonoma Raceway . Larson powered the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet to a best lap of 95.141 mph on the 1.99-mile California road course. His speed was shy of the track qualifying record of 96.568 mph that he set in Coors Light Pole Qualifying last year. RELATED: Larson on brink of first premier series victory Jamie McMurray , Larson's teammate in the No. 1 Chevy, was second-fastest at 94.544 mph in the opening 1-hour, 55-minute session. McMurray suffered slight damage to the right-rear fender after a Turn 11 run-in with Tony Stewart late in the session. Former Sonoma winner Martin Truex Jr . turned the third-best lap (94.498 mph) in the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota. Dale Earnhardt Jr . (94.430 mph) and Carl Edwards (94.319 mph) completed the top five in opening preparation for Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 (3 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Defending race winner Kyle Busch clocked the 14th-fastest lap in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota. The reigning Sprint Cup champion scored an emotional victory in this race last year, winning for the first time since suffering severe leg injuries in the 2015 XFINITY Series opener. Jimmie Johnson was best in the category of 10-consecutive-lap average, leading Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin under that heading. RELATED: Johnson talks road course struggles despite off-road background The session was interrupted by a lengthy red flag shortly after the practice began when Regan Smith 's Tommy Baldwin Racing No. 7 Chevrolet leaked an overflow of oil. With the problem remedied, Smith recorded the 34th-fastest lap of the 41 drivers entered.
2015 Sonoma victor 'Rowdy' readies to defend win
RELATED: Relive all of Busch's victories SONOMA , Calif. -- Kyle Busch is the only two-time winner at Sonoma Raceway in the last 11 years and his victory in the Toyota - Save Mart 350 last year was the beginning of his triumphant quest for the Sprint Cup Series championship. He won three more times in the next four weeks establishing himself a title favorite even as he continued to recover from severe leg injuries suffered the day before the season opening Daytona 500 causing him to miss the first 11 races. If there was a starting point for his emotional and inspiring rally toward the trophy, it came here on the winding 1.99-mile road course in California's wine country. "I think it really propelled us a little bit in giving us a lot of confidence that we can go out there and we can do it and we can win races each and every week," Busch said. "(You) have to let them come to you sometimes. You can force your hand and you can make mistakes and sometimes when you're able to just kind of let it all out there and let it be what it is, you can win races that way too. "It worked for us and that's what got us to where we needed to be last year." Busch will start his No. 18 M&M's Toyota eighth in tomorrow's race. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards is on the pole and fellow teammate Denny Hamlin will start sixth. Busch was ranked among the top 15 in both Saturday practices and remained optimistic about his chances Sunday if noting the list of contenders is longer each year. Among them is the only driver who won in 2015 that hasn't won yet this season: Dale Earnhardt Jr . He was fastest in final practice but qualified 13th. Third-year Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson was fastest in opening practice and will start fifth here. A.J. Allmendinger -- who won on the series' other road course at Watkins Glen International in 2014 -- will start from the front row. "I actually felt like I started off a little rusty, but then by the end of the practice sessions I felt like I was getting all I could get out of the race car," Busch said. "Whatever that was, an hour and a half is what it took in order to get really up and going. We'd had some decent speed, but we weren't all that fast, as fast as we need to be right now so we've got some work to do. "I enjoy road course racing, it's just something different and it lends itself to a different fan base probably." Last year's victory was season-changer for Busch, who conceded he wouldn't have necessarily guessed that first win would come on a road course. He's had success on them in the past -- including a win at Sonoma in 2008 -- but the demanding nature of this type of racing coming so soon after his serious leg injuries made last year's victory truly remarkable. "It was certainly a welcoming surprise to us for sure," Busch said. "It wasn't that we circled it on the calendar thinking we'd have a shot to come back and be able to do that. We actually X'd this one out like we were just trying to survive and get out of here with a good day and a good points day. "With the way the five races had gone before, coming here last year, the time I had just got back in the car, we weren't running and finishing the way we needed to. We came here after a 43rd-place finish at Michigan -- oh look, we did it again this year. It would certainly be nice to turn some things around. Definitely, it seems like the May, June months just don't go my way and aren't really on our side." That's certainly Busch's 2016 reality, anyway. He hasn't finished better than 30th since his victory at Kansas -- four races ago -- and has three DNFs in that span. It's a far cry from the blissful three wins he tallied in a six-race spring span between Martinsville and Kansas. And he's ranked a season-low ninth in the points standings -- even though he's the winningest driver in the series. The points will reset for the Chase, which will benefit Busch, but he's eager to get things on track now. He stands to become the first back-to-back Sonoma winner since Jeff Gordon won three consecutive races from 1998-2000 and the only other driver besides Gordon to win more than twice at the California road course. "Good effort for us last year here and it was really exciting to get that monkey off our back to get the win and get our season turned around heading in the right direction for really good things at the end of the season," Busch said.