Oh Chute: NASCAR returns to Sonoma Raceway with a big change

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NASCAR’s roots may be in moonshine, but it thinks wine country is just fine.The Cup Series returns to Sonoma Raceway in Northern California on Sunday, June 8, for the Toyota Save Mart 350 road course race.But it’s not the same track as last year.From the series’ first visit in 1998 until 2018, NASCAR used a different layout than other series that eliminated a series of turns known as “The Carousel” and replaced them with a straight called “The Chute” that connected turns 4 and 7.
Sonoma Racway can be configured into several track layouts.
(NASCAR)NASCAR tried using the Carousel in 2019 and 2021 (2020 was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic), but the drivers said they preferred the Chute layout, so it was brought back this year.
Sonoma Raceway is located about an hour north of San Francisco.
(Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)Chase Elliott is the current favorite to win, followed by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson and road course ace and former IndyCar driver A.J. Allmendinger.
Kyle Larson is the defending champion of the race.
(Bob Kupbens/Sonoma Raceway via Icon Sportswire)Allmendinger competes full time in the Xfinity Series, where he is the current points leader, but is running all the Cup Series road course events for Kauling Racing.
Martin Truex Jr. won the last race at Sonoma that used the Chute layout.
(Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)Allmendinger is followed by Kyle Busch and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr., who was the last to win on the chute layout in 2018, while Larson is the defending champ from 2021.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe Toyota Save Mart 350 is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FS1 and the FOX Sports app. Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor covering the car industry and racing @foxnewsautos

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