NASCAR Drivers Almirola, Menard, Smith Test at Infineon Raceway SONOMA, Calif. (April 9, 2008) -- Three Dale Earnhardt, Inc. drivers visited Infineon Raceway on Wednesday to hone their skills on the challenging 10-turn, 1.99-mile road ...
NASCAR Drivers Almirola, Menard, Smith Test at Infineon Raceway
SONOMA, Calif. (April 9, 2008) -- Three Dale Earnhardt, Inc. drivers visited Infineon Raceway on Wednesday to hone their skills on the challenging 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course.
NASCAR drivers Aric Almirola, Regan Smith and Paul Menard came to the track for a one-day test session before the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event in the Sonoma Valley, June 20-22.
The drivers piloted GT America stock cars supplied by Pioneer Motorsports out of Lake Oroville. They were coached by road-course veteran Chris Cook and completed approximately 100 laps combined in the full-day test.
Smith is the only driver among the three with any Cup Series race experience at Infineon Raceway. He finished 30th in last year's event.
"I raced here last year, so it's nice to come back here and get in that road-racing mentality again," said Smith. "It's a totally different approach than an oval, and it's nice to come here and refresh your memory."
"I've been road racing since I was eight years old, so I'm more comfortable on road courses than on ovals. It was a good day, and it's a great facility to be at," said Menard, who is in his second year of full-time Cup Series competition piloting the No. 15 Menards Chevrolet. He failed to qualify for the Sonoma race in 2007.
Almirola, who shares driving duties with veteran Mark Martin in the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet, is currently in his second partial season of Sprint Cup Series competition. This marked his first visit to the Sonoma Valley road course.
"This track is tough, but it's fun," said Almirola. "The elevation changes and blind turns make it really difficult. It's definitely something different."
Cook said all of the drivers took well to the road course, and he enjoyed working with all three teammates.
"I think Aric was most focused being his first time here, and he made big gains by the end of the day," said Cook. "Paul and Regan were a lot more disciplined with the track, and we worked on shifting points and braking points."
For ticket information on the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 20-22, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.