Statistically Speaking

Toyota / Save Mart 350 Stats

Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

This week’s race: Toyota / Save Mart 350
Traditional Name: None
Other Notable Names: Dodge / SaveMart 350, Save Mart / Kragen 350, Save Mart Supermarkets 300, Banquet Frozen Foods 300

Road course racing has a long history with NASCAR and has been a part of the sport since the earliest days. With the announcement that the Charlotte Motor Speedway fall race will be run on the infield “roval”, they have confirmed their commitment.

Sonoma Raceway is a much more technical track than Watkins Glen International and some of the drivers who perform in California, do not fare well in New York. That is the case with our two top-ranked racers. Others, like Joey Logano and Kurt Busch are equally strong on both tracks.

10 best drivers at Sonoma

Over the past three races, these drivers have the best average finish on this track.

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Last three races average finish at Sonoma: 7.00
Career avg. finish: 18.9 in 17 attempts

Your eyes are not fooling you; Earnhardt is the driver in the field this week with the best three-year average finish. It comes on the strength of one top-five, another top-10, and an 11th. His career average tells a different story, however, because Sonoma and Watkins Glen are two of his worst tracks.

2. Kasey Kahne
Last three races average finish at Sonoma: 7.67
Career avg. finish: 17.5 in 13 attempts

Kahne enters the weekend with a four-race, top-10 streak and he has never finished outside the top 15 on this track while racing for Hendrick Motorsports. Slow and steady might not win the race, but it will add a lot of fantasy points. Kahne has also earned positive place-differential points in each of his last five attempts.

3. Joey Logano (tied with Ku Busch)
Last three races average finish at Sonoma: 8.00
Career avg. finish: 12.9 in 8 attempts

Logano was not always a strong road racer, but two years ago a switch flipped. He finished fifth at Sonoma in 2015, won at the Glen later that summer, and swept the top-five on both courses last year. He is expensive in salary cap games, but worth starting if he fits the right niche.

4. Kurt Busch (tied with Logano)
Last three races average finish at Sonoma: 8.00
Career avg. finish: 14.5 in 16 attempts

Since winning the 2011 Toyota / Save Mart 350, Busch has never finished worse than 12th. That gives him a long positive streak and makes him a driver that fantasy owners can count on despite his lack of consistency on other track types.

5. Jimmie Johnson
Last three races average finish at Sonoma: 8.67
Career avg. finish: 12.5 in 15 attempts

Johnson is a better value on unrestricted, intermediate speedways than road courses, but he fits a role on this track type as well. Last year’s 13th-place finish snapped a seven-race, top-10 streak and he has not finished outside the top 15 since 2007.

6. Ryan Newman
Last three races average finish at Sonoma: 9.33
Career avg. finish: 12.3 in 15 attempts

Newman is another driver who stakes claim to the top 10 with consistency. His current top-15 streak stands at four. He has not earned a top-five since 2006, but his last five efforts have each been better than the one that preceded it. Last summer, he finished eighth at Sonoma.

7. Kevin Harvick
Last three races average finish at Sonoma: 10.00
Career avg. finish: 14.6 in 16 attempts

Harvick has had sporadically strong runs on road courses. Back-to-back top-10s in the past two races elevate him into the lead pack, but he has never been able to stretch that streak to three at Sonoma. Given the general malaise suffered by Stewart-Haas Racing at the moment, that is unlikely to change.

8. Jamie McMurray
Last three races average finish at Sonoma: 10.67
Career avg. finish: 16.3 in 14 attempts

Once the list gets down to McMurray, the power band changes. He makes the cut largely on the strength of a fourth-place finish in 2014 that is about to age out of his average and if he does not perform equally well, he won’t be profiled next year.

9. Kyle Busch
Last three races average finish at Sonoma: 11.00
Career avg. finish: 18.1 in 12 attempts

Busch’s last two Sonoma races have been great with a win in 2015 and seventh in 2016. In 2007/2008 he had another pair of results almost identical, but those are his only top-10s to date.

10. Paul Menard
Last three races average finish at Sonoma: 11.33
Career avg. finish: 23.2 in 11 attempts

Menard makes his way into the top 10 with an average of 11.3 and while that is good, it requires an explanation. With recent retirements by several top drivers and a changing of the guard in place, only 27 drivers entered this week have made more than one start and that gave Menard a better shot at getting profiled. A fifth-place finish in 2014 didn’t hurt either.

Rank

Driver

Avg. Finish

Attempts

1.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

7.00

3

2.

Kasey Kahne

7.67

3

3.

Joey Logano

8.00

3

3.

Kurt Busch

8.00

3

5.

Jimmie Johnson

8.67

3

6.

Ryan Newman

9.33

3

7.

Kevin Harvick

10.00

3

8.

Jamie McMurray

10.67

3

9.

Kyle Busch

11.00

3

10.

Paul Menard

11.33

3

 

 

 

 

11.

Denny Hamlin

15.33

3

12.

Clint Bowyer

17.67

3

13.

Kyle Larson

18.33

3

14.

Austin Dillon

18.67

3

14.

Brad Keselowski

18.67

3

16.

Danica Patrick

20.33

3

17.

Martin Truex Jr.

20.67

3

18.

Trevor Bayne

24.00

2

19.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

25.67

3

20.

Matt Kenseth

27.67

3

20.

Cole Whitt

27.67

3

22.

AJ Allmendinger

29.33

3

23.

Matt DiBenedetto

30.00

2

24.

Boris Said

30.50

2

25.

Michael McDowell

32.33

3

26.

David Ragan

35.67

3

27.

Landon Cassill

36.00

3

Drivers With Only One Start

 

Chase Elliott

21.00

1

 

Ryan Blaney

23.00

1

 

Chris Buescher

30.00

1

 

Reed Sorenson

32.00

1

 

Cody Ware

41.00

1

 

Exercise Caution

Most caution flags: 9, 1990 Banquet Frozen Foods 300      
Fewest caution flags: 2, 2012 Toyota / Save Mart 350
Average number of caution flags per race: 5.3
In 2017: 9.4

Final Caution, last five races:
June 2016: lap 94 of 110: Michael McDowell (broken rear end) stopped on the track.
June 2015: lap 100 of 110: debris from Casey Mears in turn 11
June 2014: lap 92 of 110: 2-car accident on frontstretch (Brian Vickers, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.)
June 2013: lap 83 of 110: 1-car accident in turn 8 (Kyle Busch)
June 2012: lap 108 of 112 (green-white-checkered) 1-car accident in turn 7 (Ryan Newman)

Most caution laps: 26, 1999 Save Mart / Kragen 350
Fewest caution laps: 7 (2 times), 2012 Toyota / Save Mart 350, 1992 Save Mart 300
Average number of caution laps per race: 14.9
In 2017: 49.4

Leading the way

Most leaders: 10, 1998 Save Mart / Kragen 350
Fewest leaders: 3, 1989 Banquet Frozen Foods 300
Average number of leaders: 6.6
In 2017: 8.5

Most lead changes: 12 (3x), 2016 Toyota / Save Mart 350, 2011 Toyota / Save Mart 350, 2010 Toyota / SaveMart 350
Fewest lead changes: 3, 1989 Banquet Frozen Foods 300k
Average number of lead changes: 8.6
In 2017: 18.3

Victory Lane

Last five winners at Sonoma (starting position):
June 2016: Tony Stewart (10)
June 2015: Kyle Busch (11)
June 2014: Carl Edwards (4)
June 2013: Martin Truex Jr. (14)
June 2012: Clint Bowyer (6)

Worst starting position for race winner: Juan Pablo Montoya, 32nd Toyota / SaveMart 350

A race at Sonoma has been won by the pole sitter 5 times and from the front row 8 times in 26 races.

Recent races won from the pole:
2004 Dodge / Save Mart 350, Jeff Gordon
1999 Save Mart / Kragen 350, Jeff Gordon
1998 Save Mart / Kragen 350, Jeff Gordon
1997 Save Mart 300, Mark Martin

Active winners at Sonoma:
Kyle Busch: 2
Clint Bowyer: 1
Kurt Busch: 1
Jimmie Johnson: 1
Kasey Kahne: 1
Martin Truex Jr.: 1

Top-10 All-time Winners:
Jeff Gordon: 5
Tony Stewart: 3
Ernie Irvan: 2
Ricky Rudd: 2
Rusty Wallace: 2
Kyle Busch: 2
Davey Allison, Geoff Bodine, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Carl Edwards, Robby Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Martin Truex Jr. 1

Top 10 on all road courses all time:
Jeff Gordon: 9
Tony Stewart: 8
Richard Petty: 6
Bobby Allison: 6
Ricky Rudd: 6
Rusty Wallace: 6
Darrell Waltrip: 5
Dan Gurney: 5
Tim Richmond: 5
David Pearson: 4
Mark Martin: 4
Kyle Busch: 4

First time winners at Sonoma:
2007: Juan Pablo Montoya, Toyota / SaveMart 350

Running at the End

The following active drivers have been running at the end of every Sonoma race they started:
Kurt Busch (16)
Kevin Harvick (16)
Ryan Newman (15)
Jamie McMurray (14)
Kasey Kahne (13)
Kyle Busch (12)
Paul Menard (9)
AJ Allmendinger (8)
Joey Logano (8)
Aric Almirola (5)
Danica Patrick (4)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (4)
Austin Dillon (3)
Kyle Larson (3)
Cole Whitt (3)
Trevor Bayne (2)
Matt DiBenedetto (2)
Ryan Blaney (1)
Chris Buescher (1)
Chase Elliott (1)

Jimmie Johnson broke a rear end in his inaugural attempt in 2002, but has been running at the end of the last 14.
Brad Keselowski crashed and failed to finish in 2010, but he has been running at the last six races.
Clint Bowyer had been running at the end of 10consecutive until n electrical problem sidelined him on lap five last year.

Great Starts

Active drivers with top-10s in their first start on this track:
Ryan Newman: 9 (2002)

No one has earned a pole in their first start, but Kyle Larson started on third in his inaugural race in 2014.

Current Streaks

At Sonoma
Kasey Kahne, four top-10s
Joey Logano, two top-fives
Kurt Busch, two top-10s
Kevin Harvick, two top-10s
Kyle Busch, two top-10s
Ryan Newman, two top-10s

Road Courses (Sonoma and Watkins Glen)
Joey Logano, five top-10s
Kyle Busch, four top-10s
Denny Hamlin, two top-twos
Martin Truex Jr., two top-10s

In 2017
Martin Truex Jr., five top-10s
Kyle Larson, three top-10s
Chase Elliott, two top-10s
Kyle Busch, two top-10s

 


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