@nascarcasm: Things you may not know about Sonoma
By @nascarcasm | Sunday, June 6, 2021
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Sonoma Raceway is one of the most picturesque facilities on the race schedule and we’re back this weekend for the Toyota/Save Mart 350! Before green flag, here are a few things about the track you may not know.
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From 1989 to 2001, pit road at Sonoma Raceway was just a bit short, and there was only room there for 34 teams to pit. After a period of pit-sharing and other remedies, a second pit road was built. It was inside the hairpin. It was nicknamed Gilligan’s Island. There was room for the nine additional stalls so that every car in the 43-car field had their own pit stall, but pitting there was less than ideal. The spots went to the nine slowest qualifiers, and because their “pit road” was so short, they’d be held 15-20 seconds to make up the difference with the cars on actual pit road. Plus, teams were stuck there for the whole race, no matter what happened. You’re looking at a fewer-than-zero stars Yelp review here.
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Most wins? Five, check. Most laps completed? 2,233, check. Most laps led? 457, check. There are several others, but we’ll stop there. Jeff was born in very-nearby Vallejo, California, so I guess this qualifies as his home track, so long as we ignore the Martin Truex Jr. criteria that states any track within 6,000 kilometers of the hospital where you were born qualifies as a home track.
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This means warm, dry summers with cooler temperatures in the evening, and wet, cooler winters. It’s a rare climate that is found in only two percent of the Earth. This is why the area is ideal for growing wine grapes. It also explains why doing a mild burnout to get out of the grass can results in a ground fire, like it did with Denny Hamlin in 2013. (It was quickly extinguished.)
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As the crow flies, it’s 2,297 miles from Charlotte. If you’re driving one of the race haulers, it’s even further because that direct Charlotte-to-Sonoma Autobahn we’ve been waiting for doesn’t seem close to happening. So if your favorite driver is a little more active on Twitter after the Sonoma race than others, it’s because he has soooooo much time to kill.
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Frost can cause your grapes to DNF. Therefore, if the air is moving, it doesn’t have time to freeze. You could also put your race car in front of one of these for a little off-the-books wind tunnel time but don’t tell anyone I said that.
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It’s quite a steep climb from Turn 1 to Turn 3A – the track’s highest point. You definitely don’t want to try and coast up that hill with your engine off to save … hold on I’m getting a phone call from Australia right now.
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Mario Andretti, Danica Patrick and Scott Pruett are among those with their own vineyards in the area. And they make the good stuff. Not the stuff in the box that kept me sane during 2020.