Time to make right turns along with the left in the Sprint Cup series, as this week NASCAR makes one of two stops at a road course. First up with be the Sonoma Raceway.
"Obviously, you have to approach the road course races a little bit different, in terms of pit strategy on Sunday and what you look for in your car," said Denny Hamlin. "Sonoma is a very tight, technical track, as opposed to Watkins Glen, and you need to make sure your car can get off the corners. To get a good finish, you need to stay clean throughout the majority of the race, and be aggressive when it’s warranted to get around guys."
This weekend will be the first test of the new group qualifying at the road course. Driver are interested to see how it all plays out.
"Anytime we can get more time on the race track in practice at a road course before we actually have to qualify, that's a good thing in my book," said Jeff Burton. "I also like the new qualifying format for Sonoma(Raceway) where they send more than one car out at a time. More time on the race track is always a good thing and I'm a big fan of the European-style qualifying format, which will make qualifying go by quicker and more enjoyable for the fans."
Kansas native Clint Bowyer won the race at Sonoma last season. He has turned himself into quite the road racer and he says Sonoma pulls a lot from his short track roots.
"I think it's like a short track of road course racing," said Bowyer. "I love short track racing, so it's just one of those tracks I've always been able to get on the race track, find pretty good speed and get comfortable and get settled in and have a good weekend."
Jeff Gordon is the king of Sonoma with five wins. Tony Stewart is also a proven road warrior, he has two Sonoma victories. Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne each has a single win on this road course.