The Drivers who Struggle at Sonoma

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Joshua Lipowski

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NASCAR 75th Anniversary Commemorative Magazine

The rolling hills of Sonoma Raceway has not been kind to certain drivers. Even the drivers who dominate at Sonoma have had their fair share of difficult days. However, for some those rough days come along more frequently, and these are the five drivers who struggle the most at Sonoma.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr

By The Numbers: 0 Wins; 0 Top 5s; 0 Top 10s; 0 Laps Led; 27.0 Av. Finish; 9 Races

Breakdown: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has a best finish of 18th at Sonoma with an average finish of 27.0. That’s below average even for a driver with a career 20.5 average finish. Nothing has seemingly gone right for Stenhouse at Sonoma, but maybe this year could be different.

Bubba Wallace

By The Numbers: 0 Wins; 0 Top 5s; 0 Top 10s; 0 Laps Led; 26.3 Avg. Finish; 4 Races

Breakdown: Wallace racing at Sonoma has been a trying experience to say the least. His best qualifying effort is 15th back in 2021, and his best finish is 14th also in 2021. Last year he was done in with an engine failure, so I guess maybe there’s nowhere to go but up?

William Byron

By the Numbers: 0 Wins; 0 Top 5s; 1 Top 10; 26 Laps Led; 22.0 Avg. Finish; 4 Races

Breakdown: William Byron has qualified well generally at Sonoma, but the race has failed to replicate it. Last year was the anomaly as Byron qualified 20th, but finished a solid ninth. In the three races before that, Byron failed to crack the top-15, but maybe Byron is beginning to turn it around.

Brad Keselowski

By the Numbers: 0 Wins; 1 Top 5; 3 Top 10s; 27 Laps Led; 16.1 Avg. Finish; 12 Races

Breakdown: Brad Keselowski has had success at other NASCAR road courses such as Watkins Glen, but at Sonoma, he has failed to replicate it. Aside from a third place finish at the track in 2017, Keselowski has had mainly mediocre runs at the track. He has not been awful at Sonoma, but not great either.

AJ Allmendinger

By the Numbers: 0 Wins; 0 Top 5s; 2 Top 10s; 65 Laps Led; 23.5 Avg. Finish; 11 Races

Breakdown: AJ Allmendinger is one of NASCAR’s best road course racers, but Sonoma just has not been kind to him. From 2014 until 2018, Allmendinger started in the top five in every race at Sonoma, but he failed to record a single top-10 finish with four finishes of 35th or worse. Allmendinger has qualified well at Sonoma, but the races at Sonoma have left a lot to be desired.

Sonoma is a very difficult race track, and this list shows that the even the best drivers in the sport struggle here. This could be a recipe for some surprises this Sunday.

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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