Road-Course Specialists Ready to Attack Road Course at Toyota/Save Mart 350 SONOMA, Calif. (June 12, 2007)-- Mastering the twists and turns of Infineon Raceway is no small task, especially for many of the regulars on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup...
Road-Course Specialists Ready to Attack Road Course at Toyota/Save Mart 350
SONOMA, Calif. (June 12, 2007)-- Mastering the twists and turns of Infineon Raceway is no small task, especially for many of the regulars on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, who only compete on two road courses each year.
For that reason, the Toyota/Save Mart 350 usually attracts a number of road-course specialists. These drivers typically race on the two road courses each year, in Sonoma and Watkins Glen (N.Y.), and few other races on the NASCAR schedule.
A specialist has never won a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race in Sonoma, but they have come awfully close. Here's a look at some of the road-course specialists you can expect to see in Sonoma (June 22-24) as well as a few NASCAR regulars who are new to the circuit but boast a road-racing background:
AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger is in his rookie season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series for Team Red Bull (Toyota), and the Los Gatos native has been looking forward to the road course in Sonoma. Allmendinger comes from a road-course background, having competed in the Champ Car Series. He took third in the Champ Car Series in 2006 with five wins and one pole.
Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose will hope to become the first Australian-born driver to start a Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway. Ambrose, who left Australia in 2006 as one of the stars in the Australian V8 Supercar series, competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2006, and made the move to the Busch Series for 2007. He will attempt to qualify for the Cup Series events at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen this year. Ambrose will drive the Aussie Vineyards Ford in Sonoma.
Ron Fellows: Fellows has won at Infineon Raceway a number of times in his familiar Corvette in the American Le Mans Series, but his best NASCAR finish in Sonoma is seventh (2003). He also placed eighth in 2005. His best starting position came in 2003 when he started in the second row. Fellows won the NASCAR Busch Series at Watkins Glen in 1998.
David Gilliland: This marks Gilliland's first full year in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, but the native of Riverside is no stranger to Infineon Raceway. He won the Southwest Series race here in 2004 and his father, Butch, was a four-time winner during his career in Sonoma. David took 32nd in his NEXTEL Cup Series debut last year, which occurred in Sonoma. He will pilot the familiar No. 38 M&M's Ford.
Klaus Graf: Graf will look to make his second NASCAR start at Infineon Raceway. The German-born driver made his Cup Series debut on the road course in 2004, when he started 38th and finished 17th. Graf has also competed extensively in the American Le Mans Series and Trans-Am Series. He will drive the No. 49 for BAM Racing in Sonoma.
Juan Pablo Montoya: This marks Montoya's (Texaco/Havoline Dodge) rookie year in NASCAR after a distinguished career in Formula One, where he had seven victories and 30 podium efforts. He finished sixth or better in each of his five full seasons in Formula One. He posted his first-ever NASCAR victory earlier this year, in the Busch Series, on the road course in Mexico. He has never competed in Sonoma. Jeff Gordon predicted a top-five finish for Montoya in Sonoma.
Boris Said: Said will boast a very limited NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule this year in his No. 60 Sobe No Fear Ford, but certainly more than just the two road courses. He has become a fan favorite at Infineon Raceway, having placed sixth twice (2003-04). Said also started on the pole in 2003. He has won at Infineon Raceway in other series, including the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1998.