Truex: Sonoma race proves NASCAR drivers now better at road courses

The uneventful Cup race at Sonoma last weekend is a sign NASCAR drivers are getting better at road courses, reckons reigning champion Martin Truex Jr

Truex: Sonoma race proves NASCAR drivers now better at road courses

NASCAR road course races have often been bruising and chaotic affairs, but the only caution period at Sonoma outside the scheduled stage breaks was to retrieve AJ Allmendinger's Chevrolet after a gearshift error damaged its engine.

That was in contrast to four cautions for incidents in the 2016 and '17 Sonoma Cup races.

Winner Truex believes the fact road courses are now a standard presence in NASCAR feeder series calendars has made a difference.

"I think the entire field is definitely better as a whole group," he said when asked why he thought the race had been cleaner.

"You come back to this track year after year. You have the Xfinity guys run more road courses today than they have. Even the trucks run road courses now. They go to Canada.

"The K&N guys go to road courses, ARCA goes to road courses.

"I think just in general stock car racing you come up with more road course experience today than you did.

"When I first started it was very limited, in the early 2000s, back in the '90s.

"Since then, all those series in the ladder system with all the road courses and these kids getting all this road course experience plays a big part.

"The fact that most of the field has experience at it doesn't mean they're going to be really good at it, but at least they're going to stay on the track all day and not really make big mistakes and make big crashes and things like that."

The addition of the Charlotte infield course means the Cup calendar features three road courses this year.

Truex said adding more road courses made practical sense for teams.

"We build two-plus road course cars for two tracks, it definitely makes sense budget-wise for the teams to be able to run more of them," he said.

"Aside from that, I just enjoy them. It's fun for us as drivers to do something different than the typical ovals, and I think the fans really enjoy them as well.

"It puts on a great show. It's really fun. It's really challenging.

"Our cars aren't really built for this kind of racetrack, and it's quite the challenge, but that's what makes it fun."

Though Truex believes road course standards have risen in NASCAR, he also admitted a late caution period at Sonoma would probably have triggered more incidents as restarts at the track "are insane".

He added: "They're very crazy. We've seen that in the past where if we get a late caution you may have two or three or four in a row."

Runner-up Kevin Harvick agreed that the restarts are "usually where the most damage comes, and we didn't have many of those".

shares
comments
Allmendinger felt he 'let everyone down' in Sonoma NASCAR Cup race

Previous article

Allmendinger felt he 'let everyone down' in Sonoma NASCAR Cup race

Next article

Harvick: NASCAR's aero change postponement until 2019 'about money'

Harvick: NASCAR's aero change postponement until 2019 'about money'
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR
Author Matt Beer
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

NASCAR
Feb 11, 2021
Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines Plus

Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines

The American stock car scene is more famous for its close racing and occasional punch-ups, but there have been some fantastic machines too. As part of Autosport's 70th anniversary celebrations in 2020, we picked out five of its best

NASCAR
Jan 3, 2021
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Plus

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future

NASCAR
Nov 17, 2020
Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy Plus

Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy

The last season of a retiring NASCAR great has shown promise, and may have resulted in another playoff push without small issues outside his control. 2020 won't be the year Jimmie Johnson would have wanted, but it won't be what he is remembered for

NASCAR
Sep 3, 2020
Why a Le Mans winner is heading into the “unknown world” of NASCAR Plus

Why a Le Mans winner is heading into the “unknown world” of NASCAR

Comparing Porsche's 919 HYBRID LMP1 to NASCAR is motorsport's equivalent of apples and oranges, but this weekend one of Weissach's top works aces will pit his skills against the regulars and revive the tradition of the 'road-course ringer'

NASCAR
Aug 13, 2020