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NASCAR - Sprint Cup - Toyota/Save Mart 350 Preview

From The Sports Network

 
DATE: Sunday, June 26th
SITE: Infineon Raceway (1968) -- Sonoma, California
TRACK: 1.99-mile, 10-turn road course
ANNUAL: 23rd
CAPACITY: 47,000 (Grandstand Seating)
TELEVISION: TNT
ANNOUNCERS: Adam Alexander, Wally Dallenbach, Kyle Petty
RADIO: Performance Racing Network (PRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio
START TIME: 3 p.m. (et)/Green Flag: 3:18 p.m. (et)
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Jimmie Johnson
RUNNER-UP: Robby Gordon
POLE WINNER: Kasey Kahne (Finished 4th)
LAPS: 110
MILES: 218.9 miles (352.21 kilometers)
QUALIFYING RECORD: Jeff Gordon, 2005 (94.325 m.p.h.)
RACE RECORD: Ricky Rudd, 2002 (81.007 m.p.h.)
TOTAL PURSE: $5,505,551 (Payouts are 2010 figures)
PAYOUTS: 1st Place - $326,153; 2nd Place - $215,648; 3rd Place - $191,751
 
2010 Finish
FinishDriverStartFinishDriverStart
1Jimmie Johnson26Marcos Ambrose6
2Robby Gordon167Greg Biffle9
3Kevin Harvick48Boris Said17
4Kasey Kahne49Tony Stewart7
5Jeff Gordon510Juan Pablo Montoya14
2010 Toyota/Save Mart 350 Facts and Figures
AVERAGE SPEED: 74.357 m.p.h.
TIME OF RACE: 2 hours, 56 minutes, 38 seconds
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 3.105 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 7 for 14 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 12 among 8 drivers
POLE WINNER: Kasey Kahne (93.893 m.p.h.)
Past Toyota/Save Mart 350 Winners (Starting Position) Car -- Speed
2010 -- Jimmie Johnson (2nd) -- Chevrolet -- 74.357 m.p.h.
2009 -- Kasey Kahne (5th) -- Dodge -- 71.012 m.p.h.
2008 -- Kyle Busch (30th) -- Toyota -- 76.445 m.p.h.
2007 -- Juan Pablo Montoya (32nd) -- Dodge -- 74.547 m.p.h.
2006 -- Jeff Gordon (11th) -- Chevrolet -- 73.953 m.p.h.
2005 -- Tony Stewart (7th) -- Chevrolet -- 72.845 m.p.h.
2004 -- Jeff Gordon (1st) -- Chevrolet -- 77.456 m.p.h.
2003 -- Robby Gordon (2nd) -- Chevrolet -- 73.821 m.p.h.
2002 -- Ricky Rudd (7th) -- Ford -- 81.007 m.p.h. (race record)
2001 -- Tony Stewart (3rd) -- Pontiac -- 75.889 m.p.h.
2000 -- Jeff Gordon (5th) -- Chevrolet -- 78.789 m.p.h.
1999 -- Jeff Gordon (1st) -- Chevrolet -- 70.378 m.p.h.
1998 -- Jeff Gordon (1st) -- Chevrolet -- 72.387 m.p.h.
1997 -- Mark Martin (1st) -- Ford -- 75.788 m.p.h.
1996 -- Rusty Wallace (7th) -- Ford -- 77.673 m.p.h.
1995 -- Dale Earnhardt (4th) -- Chevrolet -- 70.681 m.p.h.
1994 -- Ernie Irvan (1st) -- Ford -- 77.458 m.p.h.
1993 -- Geoff Bodine (3rd) -- Ford -- 77.013 m.p.h.
1992 -- Ernie Irvan (2nd) -- Chevrolet -- 81.412 m.p.h.
1991 -- Davey Allison (13th) -- Ford -- 72.970 m.p.h.
1990 -- Rusty Wallace (11th) -- Pontiac -- 69.245 m.p.h.
1989 -- Ricky Rudd (4th) -- Buick -- 76.088 m.p.h.
 
NOTE: Formerly called Banquet Frozen Foods 300 (1989-91), The Save Mart 300
(1992), Save Mart Supermarkets 300 (1993-97), Save Mart/Kragen 350
(1998-2000).
 
Past Toyota/Save Mart 350 Pole Winners (Finish)
2010 -- Kasey Kahne -- 4th
2009 -- Brian Vickers -- 16th
2008 -- Kasey Kahne -- 33rd
2007 -- Jamie McMurray -- 37th
2006 -- Kurt Busch -- 5th
2005 -- Jeff Gordon -- 33rd
2004 -- Jeff Gordon -- 1st
2003 -- Boris Said -- 6th
2002 -- Tony Stewart -- 2nd
2001 -- Jeff Gordon -- 3rd
2000 -- Rusty Wallace -- 26th
1999 -- Jeff Gordon -- 1st
1998 -- Jeff Gordon -- 1st
1997 -- Mark Martin -- 1st
1996 -- Terry Labonte -- 5th
1995 -- Ricky Rudd -- 4th
1994 -- Ernie Irvan -- 1st
1993 -- Dale Earnhardt -- 6th
1992 -- Ricky Rudd -- 4th
1991 -- Ricky Rudd -- 2nd
1990 -- Ricky Rudd -- 3rd
1989 -- Rusty Wallace -- 2nd
Last Race Results
RACE: Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 (June 19th)
SITE: Michigan International Speedway -- Brooklyn, Michigan
MILES: 400
LAPS: 200
WINNER: Denny Hamlin
RUNNER-UP: Matt Kenseth
THIRD: Kyle Busch
FOURTH: Paul Menard
FIFTH: Carl Edwards
POLE WINNER: Kurt Busch (Finished 11th)
TIME OF RACE: 2 hours, 36 minutes, 50 seconds
AVERAGE SPEED: 153.029 m.p.h.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.281 second
CAUTION FLAGS: 5 for 18 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 21 among 12 drivers
LAP LEADERS: Kurt Busch 1-8; R. Newman 9-11; Kurt Busch 12; G. Biffle 13-27;
M. Bliss 28; C. Mears 29; G. Biffle 30-55; M. Kenseth 56; G.
Biffle 57-62; C. Edwards 63; G. Biffle 64-71; M. Kenseth 72-84;
Kyle Busch 85; B. Labonte 86; G. Biffle 87-99; Kyle Busch
100-121; K. Harvick 122; P. Menard 123-124; Kyle Busch 125-160;
M. Kenseth 161-163; C. Edwards 164-192; D. Hamlin 193-200.
Toyota/Save Mart 350 Entry List
CarDriver, HometownCar/Name
00David Reutimann (Zephyrhills, FL)Toyota/Aaron's Dream Machine
1Jamie McMurray (Joplin, MO)Chevrolet/McDonald's
2Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI)Dodge/Miller Lite
4Kasey Kahne (Enumclaw, WA)Toyota/Red Bull
5Mark Martin (Batesville, AR)Chevrolet/Farmers Insurance
6David Ragan (Unadilla, GA)Ford/UPS
7Robby Gordon (Orange, CA)Dodge/Speed Energy
9Marcos Ambrose (Launceston, Australia)Ford/Stanley
11Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield, VA)Toyota/FedEx Freight
13Casey Mears (Bakersfield, CA)Toyota/GEICO
14Tony Stewart (Columbus, IN)Chevrolet/Office Depot/Mobil One
16Greg Biffle (Vancouver, WA)Ford/3M
17Matt Kenseth (Cambridge, WI)Ford/Crown Royal
18Kyle Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Toyota/M&M's Pretzel
20Joey Logano (Middletown, CT)Toyota/Home Depot
22Kurt Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Dodge/Shell/Pennzoil
24Jeff Gordon (Vallejo, CA)Chevrolet/DuPont
27Paul Menard (Eau Claire, WI)Chevrolet/Menards/Duracell
29Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield, CA)Chevrolet/Budweiser
31Jeff Burton (South Boston, VA)Chevrolet/Caterpillar
32Terry Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX)Ford/U.S. Chrome
33Clint Bowyer (Emporia, KS)Chevrolet/Cheerios/Hamb. Helper
34David Gilliland (Riverside, CA)Ford/Taco Bell
36Dave Blaney (Hartford, OH)Chevrolet/Big Red
37Tomy Drissi (Hollywood, CA)Ford/Black Cat Fireworks
38Tony Ave (Hurley, WI)Ford/Long John Silver's
39Ryan Newman (South Bend, IN)Chevrolet/Haas Automation
42Juan Pablo Montoya (Bogota, Colombia)Chevrolet/Cottonelle
43A.J. Allmendinger (Los Gatos, CA)Ford/Best Buy
46Andy Pilgrim (Nottingham, England)Chevrolet/Red Line Oil
47Bobby Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX)Toyota/Clorox/Kleenex
48 *Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, CA)Chevrolet/Lowe's
51Landon Cassill (Cedar Rapids, IA)Chevrolet/Security Benefits
56Martin Truex Jr. (Mayetta, NJ)Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts
60Mike Skinner (Susanville, CA)Toyota/Big Red
66Michael McDowell (Glendale, AZ)Toyota/HP Racing
71Andy Lally (Northport, NY)Ford/TRG Motorsports
77P.J. Jones (Torrance, CA)Dodge/Speed Energy
78Regan Smith (Cato, NY)Chevrolet/Furniture Row Racing
81Brian Simo (Carlsbad, CA)Chevrolet/Whitney's Collision
83Brian Vickers (Thomasville, NC)Toyota/Red Bull
87Joe Nemechek (Lakeland, FL)Toyota/NEMCO Motorsports
88Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Kannapolis, NC)Chevrolet/Amp Energy/Nat'l Guard
99Carl Edwards (Columbia, MO)Ford/Scotts Ortho
 
* - defending champion.
 
Leading Contenders (Finish the last nine years)
Driver200220032004200520062007200820092010
Jimmie Johnson35th17th5th36th10th17th15th4thWon
Robby Gordon11thWon34th16th40th16th36th36th2nd
Kevin Harvick14th3rd12th37th24th2nd30th29th3rd
Kasey Kahne------31st41st7th23rd33rdWon4th
Jeff Gordon37th2ndWon33rdWon7th3rd9th5th
Marcos Ambrose------------------42nd3rd6th
Greg Biffle---37th13th14th4th5th11th28th7th
Boris Said41st6th6th17th9th9th41st24th8th
Tony Stewart2nd12th15thWon28th6th10th2nd9th
Juan Pablo Montoya---------------Won6th6th10th
Dale Earnhardt Jr30th11th11th42nd26th13th12th26th11th
Mark Martin7th19th8th15th13th------35th14th
Jamie McMurray---20th2nd13th18th37th18th14th15th
Ryan Newman9th5th14th9th2nd20th7th17th16th
Jeff Burton29th38th9th30th7th3rd13th34th27th
Carl Edwards---------38th6th18th9th13th29th
Matt Kenseth39th14th20th11th17th34th8th18th30th
Clint Bowyer------------16th4th4th8th31st
Kurt Busch4th28th36th3rd5th22nd32nd15th32nd
Joey Logano---------------------19th33rd
Denny Hamlin------------12th10th27th5th34th
Kyle Busch---------40th11th8thWon22nd39th
 
Mover of the Week
Kyle Busch - Started in the 24th position and finished 3rd
 
Sports Network Selections
Pick to Win - Kevin Harvick
Darkhorse - Kasey Kahne
 
Last Week's Pick to Win (Tony Stewart) - Finished 7th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Dale Earnhardt Jr) - Finished 21st
 
NOTES:
Jimmie Johnson will attempt to win the Toyota/Save Mart 350 for the second straight year, but it will be a difficult task, as no driver other than Jeff Gordon has ever accomplished this task in the 22-year history of the race. Gordon won at Sonoma, CA consecutively from 1998-2000.

Johnson finally got the monkey off his back at Sonoma last year. Infineon Raceway was one of just five active tracks that Johnson had not won on. The list now includes Watkins Glen, Chicagoland, Michigan and Homestead-Miami.

Last season, Johnson benefited from Marcos Ambrose's costly mistake during a caution period in the closing laps to win the 2010 running of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Ambrose, who was attempting to win his first career Sprint Cup Series race, held the lead during a caution with seven laps remaining, but the Australian driver turned his engine off in an effort to conserve fuel. Ambrose slowed on the track and fell from his leading position to seventh.

According to NASCAR rules, drivers must maintain the caution speed in order to keep their running position. That allowed Johnson, who was running second at the time, to take the lead for good. After the final restart, Johnson easily pulled away from Robby Gordon and then drove to his first road course win in 17 starts.

In 2009 Kasey Kahne reclaimed the lead on the 80th lap and never looked back, as he outlasted Tony Stewart by 0.748 seconds for his 10th career Sprint Cup title. Pole sitter Brian Vickers led the opening 16 laps, but finished a distant 16th. Prior to his win at Sonoma, Kahne had never finished in the top-10 in a NASCAR road course race. His best finish was 14th, which came twice at Watkins Glen, NY. The victory also ended a 37-race drought, with his last win coming in June 2008 at Pocono, while driving for Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Prior to the start of the 2009 season, GEM aligned with Petty Enterprises to form Richard Petty Motorsports.

After three average finishes in this race, Kyle Busch took the checkered flag in 2008, as he out dueled David Gilliland by 1.716 seconds for his ninth Sprint Cup title. Starting from the 30th position, Busch took the lead for the first time on lap 33, but was overtaken by Carl Edwards on lap 69. Edwards' advantage was short-lived, as Busch reclaimed the lead for good on lap 71, and then held it the rest of the way. Pole sitter Kasey Kahne led the first four laps, but was never a factor from there, as he finished 33rd. Currently second in points, Busch's Sprint Cup win total now stands at 21, including his two victories this season.

In his 17th Sprint Cup start, Juan Pablo Montoya picked up his first win at Sonoma, as he took the checkered flag 4.097 seconds ahead of Kevin Harvick in 2007. Montoya, who started 32nd, claimed the lead from Jamie McMurray on lap 104, and then led the final seven circuits. McMurray, the pole sitter McMurray, wound up finishing 37th. Only four cars failed to finish the race, two of which ran out of gas (Bobby Labonte and Kyle Petty). With the victory, Montoya and Dodge snapped Chevrolet's four-year winning run at Sonoma. Robby Gordon led twice for a race-high 48 laps and finished 16th.

Jeff Gordon continued Chevrolet's dominance of this race, as he won for the fifth time at Infineon Raceway in 2006. Gordon reclaimed the lead on lap 88, and the held it for the rest of the way to edge Ryan Newman by 1.250 seconds. Gordon led twice for a total of 44 laps, as he won for the 74th time in his Sprint Cup career. Pole sitter Kurt Busch finished fifth after leading the first 29 laps. Gordon's win total now stands at 84.

Gordon is a road-course warrior with nine wins (five at Infineon and four at Watkins Glen). In 18 career starts at Infineon, Gordon has 11 top fives, 14 top-10s and five poles. Gordon has led the most laps there with 437, more than twice the total of Rusty Wallace (171), who has led the second most. Gordon's average finish at this track is 9.05.

In 2005, Tony Stewart crossed the finish line 2.266 seconds ahead of Ricky Rudd to capture his 20th career Sprint Cup title. Before an estimated 100,000 in attendance, Stewart reclaimed the lead on lap 100 of the 110-lap event to edge Rudd. Pole sitter Jeff Gordon, who led the first 32 laps, finished 33rd. Stewart led for a total of 39 laps. Stewart also captured this race in 2000 and has an average finish of 9.250 and has seven road-course wins.

In 1968, a twisting 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course and a quarter-mile drag strip were carved into the picturesque rolling hills at the gateway to the Sonoma Wine Country. Whether its amateur or professional SCCA road races, AMA and AFM motorcycle racing, exotic sports cars, vintage cars or the raw power of NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Trucks and NHRA drag races, Infineon Raceway has played host to some of the racing world's top events and its greatest moments. Racing legends such as Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Dan Gurney, Kenny Roberts, Shirley Muldowney, Dale Earnhardt and Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, as well as modern day stars including Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, have all left their indelible marks at this unique and historic facility. Infineon is arguably the world's busiest racing facility, with track activity scheduled an average of 340 days a year. It is the nation's only high-performance automotive industrial park.

Dale Earnhardt, who tragically died during a last-lap accident in the 2001 Daytona 500, meant the world to so many people, and the fans of Northern California were no different. To that end, Infineon Raceway honored the seven- time NASCAR Cup champion by naming the first completed project in its $35 million Modernization Plan after Earnhardt. The Turn 2 Hillside Terrace seats is known as the "Earnhardt Terrace." The entrance into the Earnhardt Terrace features a four-foot high monument for fans as a testament to the greatest driver in NASCAR Sprint Cup history. A black granite plaque at the top of the monument bears the familiar No.3. A second plaque on the side has the words "Earnhardt Terrace" engraved. The area also has a flag pole with the No.3 waving at the top. The monument will sit on a concrete platform overlooking sweeping views of the raceway and the surrounding Sonoma Valley. The monument is made of the same split-face concrete block that has been used to construct the 34,000 Hillside Terrace Seats above Turns 2-4 on the road course. Infineon Raceway was the site of the only NASCAR Sprint Cup road-course victory of Earnhardt's career in 1995.

The pole sitter has won this race five times in the 22-year history of this event. In fact, 17 of the 22 races have been won from the top-10. When Montoya captured the 2007 race, he came from the 32nd starting position, the furthest a driver has started and gone on to capture the checkered flag.

Actor John Ratzenberger from the TV show Cheers will be the Grand Marshal this year and will call the drivers to start their engines.

The Sprint Cup Series returns to Daytona International Speedway for the July 2 Coke Zero 400. Kevin Harvick is the defending champion.

06/21 19:10:05 ET

As of June 21, 2011, at 07:10 PM ET