Cup GarageThe weather was somewhat misty, grey, overcast, gloomy and cold Friday morning at the Northern California wine country road course known as Sonoma. There had been evidence of a slight drizzle early on. The weather forecast called for more of the same all weekend. Later on it tried to spritz and failed. The sun played hide and seek.

NASCAR is running two series this weekend – Sprint Cup Series in the 24th Annual Toyota/Save Mart 350 Race, and the Pick-N-Pull/Racing To Stop Hunger 200 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Race.

The Cup Series has forty-four drivers entered, some running a one-off road course weekend. Among the field are two Rookies, nine drivers who have to qualify on time, and one driver ineligible for driver points in this series. One driver won’t make the field of 43 cars.

All thirty of the West Series drivers will start the race. Ten are Rookies. Possibly the world’s oldest driver running a stock car race is HERSHEL McGriff of Oregon/No.04 Chevrolet, will be 85 this December. At the other end of the spectrum is fifteen-year old CAMERON HAYLEY of Canada in No.24 Toyota. JESSICA BRUNELLI/No.88 Chevrolet is the only female in the field.

MARCOS AMBROSE/No.9 Ford got Friday morning’s Media Availabilities off to an interesting start. The media sat up and took notice when the scrappy Aussie used a new Expletive Deleted word when discussing drivers who block – D***** B**. “Consistent blocking, guys just get sick of it and will dump you for it. We know the rule. It is a self-made rule and we police it ourselves and you just have to choose who you are racing against, what time of the race it is and be smart.

“We aren’t Sprint Cup series drivers because we are dummies. We have earned our way to this point and we should know how to conduct business out there. You have to know who you are racing around and you have to realize what is happening around you. You have to make those choices. If the guy behind you feels you have been a (EXPLETIVE), he will get you out of the way.”

Marcos Ambrose
Kevin Harvick
KEVIN HARVICK/No.29 Chevrolet also had comments regarding blocking drivers. “If you feel like you made a mistake coming into that passing zone you tend to block and the guy behind you is planning on passing and that is usually where there is a conflict of interest going into the next corner. The restarts, the double file restarts that took it to a whole new level when we started that. Especially here because it is so narrow and most of the corners you want to be in one particular spot. That forces you to have to push and shove your way back into line.”

Harvick and his wife, DELANA, are expecting their first child. When asked about his backup plan for this weekend, Harvick was relatively tight-lipped. Since he’s so far from home, “We have some plans. It’s just a long ways from home right now so we had to make alternate plans.” DAVE MAYHEW practiced in Harvick’s car earlier this week, but Harvick noted that Mayhew is entered in the West race. Regarding having a backup plan week to week until the break, Harvick said “We don’t plan to right now.”

Both NASCAR series will have practice sessions before their afternoon qualifying runs.