NASCAR: Sonoma race weekend sees one big change

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Sonoma Raceway, NASCAR (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Sonoma Raceway, NASCAR (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

After a short-lived return to the full layout, NASCAR is set to run a variation of Sonoma Raceway that was last used in 2018.

The NASCAR Cup Series is set for the 16th and final race before the 2022 season’s lone off weekend, with that race being this Sunday afternoon’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

This race is also the final race of the season for which Fox is set to provide live television coverage, as NBC is set to take over for the final 10 races of the regular season and then the four-round, 10-race playoffs.

There is one key change that has been made to this coming Sunday’s race from last year. Before the 2019 season, it was announced that the full 12-turn, 2.52-mile (4.056-kilometer) road course layout, which features the carousel section, would be used for the first time since 1997.

This section was first utilized in the 1989 season, the first season to feature a Cup Series race at the track.

That layout of the Sonoma, California course was indeed used in 2019 and 2021; the track did not host a race in 2020 as a result of COVID-19-related restrictions.

But in 2022, after just two years of running the full layout, the Cup Series is returning to the 12-turn, 1.99-mile (3.203-kilometer) layout.

This change wasn’t just announced; it was confirmed before the start of the start of the 2022 season. But as the race weekend approaches, it is well worth a reminder to hopefully avoid confusion later on.

This layout was used each year from 1998 to 2018, though it is worth mentioning that, officially, this layout was classified as 1.949-mile (3.137-kilometer) layout during the 1998 and 1999 seasons and a 2-mile (3.219-kilometer) layout during the 2001 season.

As a result of the layout change, this Sunday afternoon’s race is set to be a 110-lap race as opposed to a 90-lap race. Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson is the reigning winner at the track, though the most recent winner at the layout set to be used is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. (2018).

Subtle move sends clear message. dark. Next

Tune in to Fox Sports 1 at 4:00 p.m. ET this Sunday, June 12 for the live broadcast of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 from Sonoma Raceway. If you haven’t yet begun a free trial of FuboTV, now is the time to do so.