This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.
We leave the ovals behind this week and head to the twisting turns as the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series will make its first stop of the season on the road course circuit. Sonoma Raceway in California plays host to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 this Sunday afternoon. As we leave the oval tracks in the rear view mirror, the crew chiefs will be left scrambling to dust off the road course playbooks for this event. Sonoma Raceway is a two-mile, 12-turn road course with many elevation changes and several different types of corners. The long, relatively straight runs are abruptly ended by many sharp corners, so horsepower and brakes are very important. One lap around Sonoma incurs a total of160 feet in elevation change, so this course is very hard on the driver and equipment. The 180-degree carrousel turn before the start/finish line provides many passing opportunities to those drivers who can drive in deep and out-brake their opponents. Other than the carrousel turn, the drivers have to be on their toes for any opportunity to make a pass. These characteristics make it a tough course for the oval track drivers, because they will struggle to find passing opportunities.
The action on the road circuits the last few seasons has been pretty rough and tumble, in fact, it resembles more of what we expect to see on a short track oval due to all the contact. Sonoma has been no exception, so we expect to see that same fender-beating action