Toyota/Save Mart 350

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A nice cabernet. Sunny skies. Guys who always turn left trying to turn right. Sunday has all the makings of a fun day.

The Sprint Cup runs its first road course of the season. The Sonoma course is in the heart of wine country. This shouldn’t have anything to do with racing, but Jeff Gordon and Richard Childress both have their hands in the wine business, not literally of course because that wine would be unsanitary after an oil change.

Infineon has ten turns. That means drivers will turn more than 1,000 times in the race. You don’t need Napa know how to see how important handling will be on Sunday, especially when you consider all the elevation changes.   

Driver won’t top 100 on this track. The fastest race finish was less than 82 miles an hour, which most of us approach on the highway when driving to the track.

Many folks you’ll see Sunday are grizzled veterans at Infineon. It hosts racing related activity 340 days out of the year, giving folks plenty of opportunity to practice in some form of car.  

This is also a strange race because many struggling teams will replace their drivers with road course ringers in an attempt to snag extra points, dollars and maybe even a victory. In a strange way, the race can be oddly competitive because of the changed playing field.

Some people love road racing. Others hate it. Regardless, here are some fun facts from the track’s website to impress your friends with Sunday at 3:00 EDT on TNT.
  • Kurt Busch won this race last year.
  • He is not the favorite to win this year.
  • Jeff Gordon, has the highest average finish among active drivers at this track.
  • Gordon loves this place. The California kid (maybe adult) has five wins here.
  • Tony Stewart is the only other active driver who has won here more than once.
  • Juan Pablo Montoya, Clint Bowyer, Stewart and Mark Martin have the second through fifth best average finishes among active drivers here.
  • Robbie Gordon has the third most laps led, only behind Gordon and Mark Martin.
  • That floored me too.
  • The Infineon Raceway road course features more than 160 feet of elevation change.  
  • The berms on the turns of the Infineon Raceway road course are painted blue and gold in honor of Track President Steve Page's attendance at nearby University of California, Berkeley.
  • I support my university with a bumper sticker.
  • The raceway uses more than eight miles of temporary fencing during the race.
  • Crews moved 9 ½ million cubic yards of dirt during the track’s renovations in 2000.
  • The hillside terrace seats use 40 miles of blocks.