The weather for Fast Friday is warm and beautiful at Sonoma Raceway for the Toyota-SaveMart 350 NASCAR weekend. This is the first of two road course races this season for the Sprint Cup Series. Also on the weekend’s schedule is the Carneros 200 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Series race, as well as the US Legends cars. All three Series practice Friday.
The Cup road courses bring out what are euphemistically called ‘road racing ringers’ and this weekend one such driver is Tomy Drissi No.66 MightyHercules.com Toyota. Another non-regular in the field is Boris Said No. 32 Seven-11/Amerigas Ford, who has run many NASCAR races in all three top tier series as well as the touring car series. Said has not a full season in a while. This makes for a 44-car field, with one car going home after Saturday qualifying.
The Cup Series has its first practice at noon. The Cup garage was its usual busy self Friday morning with the teams readying their cars for scrutineering. There are a variety of checkpoints through which the cars must pass, literally and figuratively. The car’s gears and transmissions are checked in the garage and sealed once approved. There is a queue in one of the NASCAR Tech areas for the teams bringing their backup transmissions to be checked and sealed.
The K&N Series has 32 entries, with four of them coming from the Cup ranks – Rookies: Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson, as well as Justin Algier and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. It’s first casualty came in the form of the flame-out of Austin Cameron No. 10 Big Red Chevrolet. Cameron is OK and he was able to quickly scramble out of the car, which he parked off course at the exit of Turn Ten, which the car continued to burn. The cause has not yet been determined. Cameron withdrew, as he had no back-up car. This was his first K&N race this season. Cameron is a veteran in the series, having run it since 1999. While he was never champion, he has 15 victories, finished second in the standings twice, and in the top ten in points three times.
A crash by Travis Milburn No.36 Cooks Collision Toyota ended the K&N practice session. He also was alright.
The Cup Series has two practices Friday afternoon, at noon PT for one hour 50 minutes, and then again at 3:30pm for another 90 minutes.