Tag:Infineon Raceway
Posted on: June 25, 2011 3:39 pm

Keselowski tops Infineon Happy Hour

Posted by Pete Pistone

Brad Keselowski kept Penske Racing near the top of the speed charts


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Posted on: June 24, 2011 9:03 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 9:31 pm

Joey Logano captures Sonoma pole

Posted by Pete Pistone

Joey Logano topped the field in Friday's qualifying session for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver earned his second career pole in 91 Sprint Cup Series starts. His last pole-winning effort came at Bristol Motor Speedway in March of 2010:


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Posted on: June 24, 2011 5:17 pm

Kurt Busch leads opening practice

Posted by Pete Pistone

Kurt Busch continued his hot streak of late by topping Friday's opening Sprint Cup Series practice session for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infneneon Raceway:


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Posted on: June 24, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: June 25, 2011 2:20 pm

Sonoma race preview

By Pete Pistone

Toyota/SaveMart 350 Race Preview 

It’s not often you here five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson talk about a rebound but he’ll need one this weekend at Infineon Raceway. 

Johnson’s lap eight spin last Sunday at Michigan International Speedway started off a day of catch-up that added up to a 27th place finish and a disappointing day to say the least. 

But don’t ask Johnson what led to the slide off turn two and the subsequent afternoon of trying to make up for it because he’s not quite sure. 

“I don't know what really happened there,” Johnson said. “I thought for as fast as the car rotated around, I thought I had help getting turned around.

“I haven't seen a video, but evidently I didn't. It must have been an air situation with cars around the back of my race car in traffic. It's just the way it is and what happens.” 

What happened last year at the twisting Northern California road course was a first for Johnson when he drove to victory lane. 

Johnson attributes the success to getting a handle on something that believes is imperative to running well at challenging road courses like the one in Sonoma. 

“What I've had to work on over the years is just getting the car setup for the acceleration zone and having good rear grip,” Johnson said. “Then, you have to drive the car in a way to not abuse those tires. It's taken a while to figure it out and last year we did a very good job of managing those things." 

Last year’s Infineon Heartbreak Kid Marcos Ambrose hopes he has better management of something else this time around. 

Ambrose was in command of last year’s race until he made a gaffe that ultimately cost him a shot at career Sprint Cup Series win number one. 

While trying to save fuel under caution, Ambrose turned off his engine and when it came time to get back to green flag racing could not re-fire the motor. So rather than drinking champagne as part of a victory lane celebration Ambrose was left with a bitter taste of disappointment. 

But he vows not to carry last year’s frustration with him into Sunday’s race. 

“You hate to lose races like that,” Ambrose said.  “But I'm still proud of my effort last year, definitely led a lot of laps.  I'm proud of what I did but a shame we couldn't finish it off.  I haven't lost sleep on it.” 


Infineon Raceway  

Track Size: 1.99-miles  

Race Length: 110 laps/219 miles/350 kilometers 


Qualifying/Race Data   

2010 pole winner: Kasey Kahne (93.893 mph, 76.300 seconds) 

2010 race winner: Jimmie Johnson (74.357 mph, 6-20-10)  

Track qualifying record: Jeff Gordon (94.325 mph, 75.950 seconds, 6-24-05)  

Race record: Ricky Rudd (81.007 mph, 6-23-02)


Race Facts   

There have been 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Infineon Raceway since the first race there in 1989.       

Rusty Wallace won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole.       

Ricky Rudd won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.       

13 different drivers have won poles; only four have won more than one.       

Jeff Gordon (five) leads all pole winners. Ricky Rudd has four, including three consecutive (1990-92), Rusty Wallace and Kasey Kahne have two apiece.       

There have been consecutive pole winners three times: Ricky Rudd (1990-92) and Jeff Gordon (1998-99 and 2004-05).       

14 different drivers have won races; five have multiple victories there – led by Jeff Gordon with five. Ernie Irvan, Ricky Rudd, Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace (all with two) are the other multiple-race winners.       

Jeff Gordon is also the only driver with consecutive wins, winning in 1998, 1999 and 2000.        

Five of 22 races have been won by the pole winner, including three times by Jeff Gordon.      

The lowest starting position by a race winner was 32nd, by Juan Pablo Montoya; it also was his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win.        

Boris Said posted his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole.       

Jeff Gordon is the all-time leader in road-course victories, with nine. Tony Stewart is second, with seven. 


Who’s Hot at Sonoma   

Juan Pablo Montoya – Since his win in 2007 Montoya has put together three consecutive Top 10 finishes for a career average finish of 5.8, tops for active drivers. Came home tenth in the 2010 edition of the race. 

Tony Stewart – A two-time Sonoma winner, Stewart has been one of the series’ best road course racing drivers during the course of his Sprint Cup career. A 9.3 average finish in twelve starts at Infineon includes four consecutive Top 10 runs heading into Sunday’s race. 

Jeff Gordon – The King of Infineon with five career victories, Gordon has put together a 9.1 average finish in eighteen career starts. But he’ll have to improve his recent performance which as seen him not lead a lap in four years and go winless since the 2006 season.


Who’s Not  

David Reutimann – Road course racing has not been kind to the Michael Waltrip Racing and his statistics at Sonoma bear that out. In three career starts, Reutimann best finish came last season when he came home 20th.  

Martin Truex Jr. – A 24.4 average finish in five career starts for the MWR driver with a career best 15th coming in his first outing back in 2006. Truex was credited with a 42nd place finish last year after being involved in a rough accident. 

Matt Kenseth – The Roush Fenway Racing driver will be hard pressed to match his second place finish last week in Michigan this Sunday based on his past Sonoma record. A 22.2 average finish in eleven starts does include a high of eighth for Kenseth in the 2008 race.



The track opened as a 2.52-mile road course and drag strip in 1968.       

The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was held in 1989.       

The first nine races were 300 kilometers and switched to a 350k format in 1998.       

The track was reconfigured to 1.949 miles in 1998 with the installation of an 890-foot chute between the original Turns 4 and 7.       

The track was reconfigured to 2.0 miles in 2001 and re-measured at 1.99 miles in 2002. 

There have been 130 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in California.        

417 drivers from NASCAR’s three national series (all-time) have their home state recorded as California.      

There have been 33 race winners from California in NASCAR three national series.

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Posted on: June 23, 2011 11:35 am

Video of the Day: Ambrose makes Sonoma mistake

Posted by Pete Pistone

Marcos Ambrose gave up a potential win in last year's Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway when he tried to save fuel leading late in the race by shutting off his engine during caution. Unfortunately he was not able to re-fire the engine and could not keep up the mandatory minimum pace dictated by NASCAR and lost his chance to win his first Sprint Cup Series win:

Posted on: June 23, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 3:45 pm

Road course ringers invade Sonoma

Posted by Pete Pistone


They're called "road course ringers" but for nearly 40 years, they haven't exactly rung the bell. Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams -- especially those looking to add or solidify points toward a top-35 ranking -- annually employ road course specialists for the schedule's two left-and-right-turn events at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International. Dan Gurney was the most successful "ringer" winning five times at the old Riverside International Raceway in the 1960s, the final four in a car owned by the Wood Brothers.

The late Mark Donohue was the last specialist to take a checkered flag, also at Riverside, driving a Roger Penske-owned AMC Matador to a one-lap victory over NASCAR Hall of Fame member Bobby Allison in 1973.

Jan Magnussen, in 12th, was the highest finisher among "ringers" in last year's Toyota/Save Mart 350. Both Magnussen and Boris Said were lap leaders in the 2010 race.

Here's a rundown on the specialists in this Sunday's Infineon race:

Tony Ave (#38 Ford) -- best finish 31st Watkins Glen (2004).

Tomy Drissi (#37 Ford) -- NASCAR GRAND AM Road Racing veteran making NSCS debut.

P.J. Jones (#77 Dodge) -- best finish fourth Watkins Glen (2005).

Andy Pilgrim (#46 Chevy) -- seven-time GRAND-AM winner from Nottingham, England making NSCS debut.

Boris Said (#51 Chevy) -- best finish third at Watkins Glen (2005). Won NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Infineon in 1998 and the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course last season.

Brian Simo (#81 Chevy) -- best finish 10th at Infineon (2005).

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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: June 21, 2011 11:38 am

Two road race experts added to Sonoma list

Posted by Pete Pistone

A pair of road racing specialists will join the fray when the Sprint Cup Series heads to Infineon Raceway this weekend for Sunday's Toyota/SaveMart 350. Boris Said and Tony Ave are the latest editions to the entry list for Sunday'a 16th race of the 2011 season:

From Team News Releases

Boris Said will take the reins of the Security Benefit/Thank A Teacher Today Chevy in this week's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. It will mark the Carlsbad, Cali. road racing ace's first Sprint Cup Series event with Phoenix Racing. Said has 11 Sprint Cup Series starts at the 1.99 mile road course. He boasts of one pole (2003) and five top-10s. He's recorded a best finish of sixth-place on two occasions (2003, 2004). Said has made two Nationwide Series starts in Phoenix Racing entries, which came in 2005. He scored a fifth-place finish at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City driving the James Finch-owned car.

Defending SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series champion Tony Ave will bring his road-racing skills to NASCAR when he pilots the #38 Long John Silver's Ford at Infineon Raceway this weekend. Ave will need to qualify on speed at the Sonoma, Calif., road course in order to make his third career Sprint Cup Series start in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350. The Hurley, Wis., native prepared for his return to NASCAR by testing with Front Row Motorsports' #38 team at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) last week. Ave is the current points leader in the Trans-Am Series season and has won the last three races. His two previous starts in the Sprint Cup Series came at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in 2004 and 2009. The 2009 start was also for Front Row team owner Bob Jenkins.

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Posted on: June 21, 2011 11:34 am

Video of the Day: Ken Schrader's Sonoma flip

Posted by Pete Pistone

NASCAR has a long history of racing at what's now known at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. Back in 1999 when the road course was known as Sears Point Raceway, Ken Schrader took this wild ride:

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