John's Journals

2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Toyota Savemart 350 at Sonoma Raceway

Each year, RLO is honored to be guests at the Toyota Savemart 350 in order to bring some big league racing home to small town USA.

Our week begins with the Media Luncheon, held on the Thursday before the race weekend at McCormick and Kulettos in San Francisco. Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and speak with Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr.

The race weekend begins on Friday with two practice sessions.

Saturday begins with Cup series qualifying, and finishes with the Nascar West Series Carneros 200 race, which usually sees a few entries from Cup series ringers looking to get some paractice on the winding Sonoma road course.

Sunday of course is race day, and everything is amped up to 11. More race fans come to see the race, more race team personnel come to staff the needs of the cars and drivers, and owners, sponsors and their guests crowd into the garage and pit area.

Race day was a gorgeous day in Wine Country, and fans at the Toyota SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway enjoyed temperatures in the upper 70s.

The top 10 qualifiers were introduced as part of a pre-race ceremony in which first-responders to the October wildfires were also introduced.

The annual air show was a big hit, with members of the Patriots Jet Team flying six L-39 Albatross jets.

Sacramento local hero Kyle Larson took the pole position for the second straight year. The young driver from Elk Grove is still looking for his first NASCAR Cup win on his home track.

Last year Kevin Harvick recorded his first Cup win at Sonoma. The 2017 race set records for the most race leaders with 10 and the most lead changes with 13.

Sonoma has had 11 different winners over the last 13 years. Kurt Busch is the most successful active driver with the most top-five finishes here with seven.

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