The NASCAR Cup Series is scheduled to run the western-most race of the 2021 season this weekend. After losing out on its annual event last year rescheduling, Sonoma Raceway welcomes NASCAR back to the 12-turn road course for the Toyota Save Mart 350. Although several drivers in the series are yet to race on this course, there are still all kinds of race stats and NASCAR betting trends to consider when making picks this weekend.
The following article breaks down several of the noteworthy stats, trends and facts for Sunday afternoon’s Toyota Save Mart 350 at Sonoma.
NASCAR Betting Trends for the Toyota Save Mart 350
With NASCAR placing an added emphasis on road racing for the 2021 season, Sonoma Raceway was a virtual lock to have the Cup Series return. California regulations were the only reason for NASCAR not running here last year. Just like in 2019, this year’s race will be run on the full 2.52-mile layout. Road-course specialists will be the focal point when considering NASCAR betting trends this week. In fact, one driver comes in having won each of the last two editions of the Toyota Save Mart 350.
The following sections break down several different types of trends specific to the Toyota Save Mart 350. These trends can be useful when making NASCAR betting picks on this weekend’s race.
NASCAR Betting Driver Trends
Jeff Gordon was the man at Sonoma Raceway during his legendary NASCAR Cup Series career. He remains atop the all-time driver wins list with five total Toyota Save Mart 350 victories. The two drivers tied for second on the all-time wins list in this race are Tony Stewart and Martin Truex Jr. with three apiece. Truex has won each of the last two Sonoma races in 2018 and 2019. He posted an average driver rating of 146.0 in the two combined. The only other active driver with multiple Toyota Save Mart 350 wins is Kyle Busch. He won this race in both 2008 and 2015.
🏎 Check out our latest NASCAR Cup Series power rankings ahead of this weekend’s action at Sonoma!
Despite winning each of the last two races and three total, Truex only ranks tenth among active NASCAR betting drivers in average finish over the last ten races at Sonoma. While he has taken the checkered three times, Truex has also finished 42nd twice and 37th back in 2017. The winner of that year’s race, Kevin Harvick, tops all drivers with an average finish of 7.7 over the last ten Sonoma races. His results include eight top-10s and four top-5s.
NASCAR Betting Team Trends
We have seen the Hendrick Motorsports foursome dominate the NASCAR Cup Series over the last several weeks. An HMS driver has won each of the last three races, including Kyle Larson’s dominant Coca-Cola 600 triumph last weekend. Well, Rick Hendrick’s garage has a favorable history at Sonoma Raceway as well. They lead all race teams with six total wins in the Toyota Save Mart 350. Of course, five of those came courtesy of the aforementioned Jeff Gordon.
All of that being said, no Hendrick Motorsports driver has reached victory lane in this race since 2010. Joe Gibbs Racing ranks second with five prior wins in this race, including the most recent running in 2019.
NASCAR Betting Manufacturer Trends
Chevrolet leads all NASCAR betting manufacturers in total wins in this race. However, that margin is slim. Camaros have gone to victory lane 11 times in the history of the Toyota Save Mart 350. Ford is just behind with eight total wins. Meanwhile, Toyota owns six total wins in this race including five of the last eight editions.
Sonoma Raceway Driver Statistics
This section contains NASCAR betting driver statistics specific to recent races at Sonoma Raceway.
Average Finish at Sonoma Raceway
Note: Data is taken from the ten most recent Sonoma races
|Rank||Driver||Starts||Best Finish||Average Finish|
|10||Martin Truex Jr.||10||1||17.4|
The Tale of the Gilligan’s Island Auxiliary Pit Road
Most pit roads on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit don’t exactly afford drivers and pit crews any excess space. In fact, just last week in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Daniel Hemric had a race’s worth of momentum brought to a halt because of losing time on a crowded pit lane. If pit stalls are considered tight corridors when every team has their own, imagine teams trying to share boxes. What an impact that could have on NASCAR betting!
From the time the NASCAR Cup Series began racing at Sonoma Raceway in 1989 up until 2001, sharing pit boxes was an actual characteristic of the course. Sonoma only had 34 total pit stalls over those dozen years. As a result, some teams had to share stalls while others were forced to make their pit stops in the track’s garage area. This prompted the creation of Gilligan’s Island, an auxiliary pit road nestled in the hairpin (Turn 11) of the track.
Impact of Pitting on Gilligan’s Island
Pitting on Gilligan’s Island was one hell of an experience. That is precisely why the nine slowest cars in qualifying were relegated to this makeshift pit road. For starters, it was landlocked by the racecourse. Because of this, primary crew members were stuck there for the duration of the race and could not return to the garage area for any tools or spare parts once the race began. Gilligan’s Island was also much shorter than the main pit road. As a result, NASCAR officials would hold drivers up for roughly 15-20 seconds to make up for the time it would normally take them to drive the full pit road length at a lower speed.
It wasn’t until Sonoma Raceway underwent reconfigurations in 2002 that the main pit road was expanded to hold a full 43-car NASCAR Cup Series field. Thus, the Gilligan’s Island auxiliary pit road was abandoned following the 2001 Toyota Save Mart 350. In all the years it was used, no driver ever won a race when pitting on Gilligan’s Island.
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