NASCAR is headed west this weekend and while the Truck Series will stop in St. Louis for Saturday Night’s race at Gateway, the Cup series will only be halfway through their journey at that point. Assuming they survive the Donner Pass and traverse it before winter comes they should race in Sonoma on Sunday.
You may have noticed the Xfinity series has the weekend off. After a stand-alone race at Iowa that saw Xfinity regulars battle for the win, the series is off until Chicago next weekend where they’ll join the Cup series. For some reason, they can’t join the Truck series at Gateway.
The good news is without an Xfinity race partnering the Cup race this weekend Cup drivers can’t ruin the support race. Or so you thought until you look at the entry list for this weekend’s K&N West Series race on Saturday at Sonoma. Take a look;
|1||1||Jim Inglebright||Valerie Inglebright||Chevrolet||TBA||Oh Shirt Yea|
|3||6||Derek Thorn||Bob Bruncati||Ford||Bill Sedgwick||Sunrise Ford / Eiback Spring / Lucas Oil|
|4||7||Will Rodgers||Jeff Jefferson||Ford||Jeff Jefferson||Kelly & Assoc. Insurance Group|
|5||08||Travis Milburn||Mike Holleran||Chevrolet||Mike Holleran||Cooks Collision|
|6||9||Ryan Partridge||Bob Bruncati||Ford||Jeff Schrader||Sunrise Ford|
|7||10||Matt Levin||Jody Levin||Chevrolet||Erik Higley||Port of Tucson|
|8||11||Takuma Koga||John Krebs||Chevrolet||Hiroki Miyaji||Ash Thees / CKB JKR|
|9||13||Todd Souza||Kelly Souza||Toyota||Michael Munoz||Central Coast Cabinets|
|10||16||Derek Kraus||Mike Curb||Toyota||John Camiller||NAPA Auto Parts / Curb Records|
|11||17||David Mayhew||Steve McGowan||Chevrolet||Bruce Cook||MMI Services / Madoram|
|12||18||Bill Kann||Becky Kann||Chevrolet||TBA||Interstate Batteries|
|13||19||Hailie Deegan||Bill McAnally||Toyota||Ty Joiner||Mobil 1 / NAPA Power Premium Plus|
|14||20||Erik Jones||David Gilliland||Toyota||Dewalt||Dewalt|
|15||22||Trevor Huddleston||Bob Bruncati||Ford||Clinton Cram||Sunrise Ford / Eiback Spring / Lucas Oil|
|16||24||Alex Bowman||Bill McAnally||TBA||Axalta / Nationwide|
|17||25||Tom Klauer||Mike Naake||Chevrolet||Mike Naake||iPulluPull Auto Parts|
|18||27||William Byron||Jerry Pitts||Chevrolet||Jerry Pitts||Liberty|
|19||36||TBA||Shawne Merriman||Toyota||TBA||Perfection Hydration / Patriot Motorsports Gr|
|20||38||Hollis Thackeray||Hollis Thackeray||Toyota||TBA||Battle Auto Parts / NAPA / Case Laspe Market|
|21||40||Jesse Iwuji||Jan Levin||Chevrolet||TBA||Perfect Hydration|
|22||41||Aric Almirola||Tony Stewart||Ford||Richard Boswell III||DenBeste Water Solutions|
|23||43||Kody Vanderwal||John Wood||Toyota||Jason Dickenson||Biltrite Signs / LaSalle Oil|
|24||47||Scott Ivie||Michelle Ivie||Toyota||TBA||MSI Development|
|25||51||Carlos Vieira||Dione Jefferson||Ford||TBA||51Fifty Energy Drink|
|26||54||Daniel Suarez||David Gilliland||Toyota||Seth Smith||Arris|
|27||55||Cole Keatts||Dione Jefferson||Ford||Jason Jefferson||Peters & Keatts Equipment|
|28||68||Rodd Kneeland||Jenise Kneeland||Chevrolet||TBA||Florinon Industries / RoddRenovations.com|
|29||77||Ken Pedersen||Joe Nava||Toyota||Roger Bracken||TBA|
|30||84||Rich Delong III||Cindy Delong||Chevrolet||Rich Delong Jr.||Country Girl Saloon / Ames Rubber|
|31||99||Cole Rouse||Bill McAnally||Toyota||Chris Nelle||NAPA Filters|
Five Cup Series drivers will be taking the green flag on Saturday at Sonoma and that’s a bummer for everyone else in the series. Chances are a Cup driver will win the race taking away points and a trophy from a K&N regular. Although Will Rodgers just won at NJMP last weekend and could be a legit threat.
Three of the last four K&N West races at Sonoma have been won by Cup drivers. Including Kevin Harvick just last season. This year Alex Bowman, William Byron, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola will be in the field.
Alex Bowman: 4 Cup starts on road courses, average finishes of 30 and 32.5. He did finish 11th at Mid-Ohio in Xfinity. Maybe he could use some road course work because he STINKS.
Lord Byron: Three Xfinity races on road courses including a 6th at Road America. In 2015 he raced the Sonoma K&N race where he started 2nd and finished 5th. In terms of experience, he has the least among the five Cup drivers.
Erik Jones: Two Cup starts on road courses, a 10th at Watkins Glen was his best finish. He has four Xfinity starts on road courses as well.
Daniel Suarez: He finished 16th at Sonoma and 3rd at Watkins Glen last season. He has also raced 6 Xfinity road races and the 2017 K&N race at Sonoma.
Aric Almirola: The hell is he doing here? Almirola has been in enough Cup races to not need the seat time in a car fielded by SHR. Will it be a Gen 4 steel body car? Please be that.
Obviously, Sonoma is going to sell a few more tickets because these guys are going to attract some fans to come to watch. It’s just a bummer that guys in the top tier of stock car racing have to race in the 5th tier to gain “experience.” Meanwhile, the regulars have their championship disrupted because of this.
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