The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Sonoma Raceway in California this weekend for the Toyota / Save Mart 350. This is only a 90 lap event but shouldn’t be extremely hard to predict, as we see a lot of the same faces up front at road course races. One thing to note is that the Cup Series hasn’t raced at Sonoma since the 2019 season, and quite a bit has changed since then, even only looking at which drivers were racing which cars. Still, you probably shouldn’t expect many surprises here on Sunday.
Thanks to his dominating effort at Charlotte last weekend, Kyle Larson is on the pole for Sunday’s Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma with road course king, Chase Elliott, starting 2nd.. You can click here to see the starting lineup for Sunday’s race to see where everyone else will line up. Now let’s get to the picks!
*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on race day.*
The Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order for Sunday’s race at Charlotte can be found by clicking here! Also, if you enjoy the FREE NASCAR content on this site and everything it has to offer, consider supporting by donating here.
Jordan’s Strategy Breakdown Video
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Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for Charlotte
Chase Elliott ($12,800) – Even when Chase Elliott probably doesn’t have the best car, like at Circuit of the Americas a couple of weeks ago, he still ends up in victory lane. The guy is just that good at road course racing. Looking at recent road course races, Chase has the following finishes: 1st, 21st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 37th, 6th, 1st, 4th. Just ridiculous. Here at Sonoma, Chase’s best finish has been 4th (in 2018) but honestly that should change on Sunday. It’s a little risky considering he’s starting up in 2nd, but Elliott is as solid of a Fantasy NASCAR pick as you can get this weekend.
Martin Truex, Jr. ($12,700) – As mentioned in the video this weekend (above), it’s Chase Elliott and Martin Truex, Jr. and then a big gap back to everyone else when it comes to road course racing. Now, Truex’s recent record on this track type isn’t as impressive as Elliott’s has been lately, but MTJ has won the last two Sonoma races and probably would have three in a row if it wasn’t for a blown engine in the 2017 race. This weekend, Truex starts back in 19th for Sunday’s Toyota / Save Mart 350, which makes him an absolute slam dunk of a pick for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest due to the place differential potential. Don’t think about it; just pick him.
Kurt Busch ($9,200) – “Safe” isn’t a word that you should just throw around when it comes to Kurt Busch in Fantasy NASCAR this season, but we’re at a road course this weekend, and unless he has some kind of catastrophic bad luck–which, honestly, wouldn’t be entirely surprising–Kurt is going to be a solid choice in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. The elder Busch brother is a previous winner here at Sonoma and has the 4th-best average finish at this track (13.6) among all active drivers. At all road courses, Kurt has just one finish worse than 20th in his last 21 starts, and he’s finished 14th in 18 of those 21 races. Busch starts 30th here at Sonoma on Sunday and could put up a massive Slingshot score with all of that place differential.
Alex Bowman ($10,300) – Alex Bowman is sneaky good at road course races–at least in my mind. I could easily name ten or more drivers that I like more at road course races than Alex Bowman, yet he has three straight top 10 finishes on this track type and hasn’t finished worse than 14th at a road course since taking over full time at Hendrick Motorsports (I couldn’t believe that either). Here at Sonoma, Bowman has two starts with Hendrick Motorsports, posting finishes of 9th and 14th. He starts 7th here this weekend, which really limits his place differential upside in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest, but if AB can come home with a top 5 finish, he’ll have a very solid points day for his moderate salary in this game.
Chase Briscoe ($7,900) – I love Chase Briscoe in Fantasy NASCAR this weekend, just like I have at the other two road course races this season. He’s going to start from back in 25th, giving him great place differential potential, and even though Stewart-Haas Racing is struggling to find speed this season, that shouldn’t be as bad here at Sonoma or other tracks where driver talent comes more into play. Briscoe showed great potential at the Daytona Road Course this season and he came home with a top 10 at COTA a couple of weeks ago.
Michael McDowell ($7,000) – All signs point to a teens finish out of Michael McDowell on Sunday, and possibly even a top 10, but looking at his track record here at Sonoma, you probably wouldn’t think that. In eight career starts at this track, McDowell has an average finish of 26.0 and just one result better than 21st, but don’t let that discourage you. Yes, that makes him a bit of a riskier pick this weekend, but don’t forget these two important pieces of information: one, we haven’t raced at Sonoma since 2019 (and a lot has changed since then), and two, McDowell has four top 12 finishes in his last five road course starts in a Cup car. Risky pick? Yes. One with high reward potential? Also yes.
“Race Winner” Pick = Chase Elliott – See notes above. Can I really bet against this guy!?