This weekend begins a key period for Cup drivers. Sunday’s race at Sonoma Raceway begins a stretch of four road course events in the next 10 races. The race to make the playoffs and to score playoff points is intensifying.
- Points position: 10th
- Best finish this season: 1st (Circuit of the Americas)
- Past at Sonoma: Does not have a top 15 in two previous starts
Reddick has won three of the last five Cup races on road courses, but Sonoma has been his kryptonite. He has yet to lead a lap there. Reddick’s three road course wins have been at Road America, Indianapolis and COTA.
- Points position: 27th
- Best finish this season: 2nd (Fontana)
- Past at Sonoma: Four top 10s, including a runner-up, in six starts
Elliott returns to the series after sitting out last weekend’s race at WWT Raceway due to suspension. He’s in a must-win situation to make the playoffs. Known for his prowess on road courses, Elliott’s last win at such a track came in 2021 at Road America. In the nine races at road courses since that win, Elliott has two runner-up finishes and six top 10s.
- Points position: 7th
- Best finish this season: 1st (Fontana, Talladega I, WWT Raceway)
- Past at Sonoma: Had six straight finishes of seventh or better before placing 30th last year
Busch is tied with William Byron for the most wins this season with three. Busch has placed in the top three in the last two road course races. He has led in five of the last seven Sonoma Cup races. He is a two-time Sonoma winner, taking the checkered flag in 2008 and ’15.
QUESTIONS TO ANSWER
- Points position: 8th
- Best finish this season: 1st (Kansas I)
- Past at Sonoma: Five consecutive top 10s until finishing 31st last year
Hamlin has not had a top-10 finish at a road course in the Next Gen car. He has an 18.4 average finish at road courses since last season. His best finish at a road course in that time is 13th at the Charlotte Roval.
- Points position: 5th
- Best finish this season: 2nd (Dover)
- Past at Sonoma: Two straight top-10 finishes
Chastain lost the points lead last weekend after his third consecutive finish outside the top 20. His fourth-place finish at Circuit of the Americas this season broke a streak of three consecutive finishes outside the top 20 at road courses.
- Points position: 13th
- Best finish this season: 3rd (Talladega I)
- Past at Sonoma: His runner-up finish last year was his first top 10 there in six starts
Until last year, Sonoma had not been kind to Buescher. He enters this weekend have scored six consecutive top 10s at road courses.