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Posted: Friday, June 20th 2014 at 12:17pm

NASCAR Preview: Who will make it a perfect 10 at Sonoma?

By NASCAR Media
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
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Marcos Ambrose hustles his Richard Petty Motorsports Ford up the hill at the Sonoma Raceway road course. His extensive road race background gives the Australia native an advantage going into this weekend's race in Sonoma, CA. / Photo: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images
SONOMA, CA - Nine different drivers have won the last nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Sonoma.

Maybe even more noteworthy: For the last seven of those winners, it was the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road-course win of their careers.

Of course, that begs the following question: Who can make it 10-for-10 … and better yet, 8-for-8. It’s a surprisingly long list. Glad you asked …

Marcos Ambrose: When NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announced the new championship format, one of the first thoughts that crossed many fans’ minds had to be: “This is Ambrose’s best chance to make the Chase.” Ambrose is a road-course whiz, a ringer who also is a series regular, with two prime opportunities to parlay that into a spot in NASCAR’s playoffs. The first comes this weekend in Sonoma, where he has finished in the top 10 in five consecutive races. He does have two road course victories, both at Watkins Glen.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: A Sonoma win for Earnhardt is an unlikely scenario, despite the “career year” he is having. In 14 Sonoma starts, Earnhardt has yet to finish in the top 10 – let alone win. His best finish is was 11th, which he’s done three times. Still, he enters this weekend on the heels of three consecutive top-10 finishes, including his second win of the season, at Pocono. Earnhardt has yet to win a road-course race of any kind in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Matt Kenseth: Like Earnhardt, Kenseth is a superb talent with a surprisingly rocky record in road course races. In 14 starts at Sonoma, he has only one top-10 finish. He, too, is a career “0-fer” at road courses.

A.J. Allmendinger: When Allmendinger showed up to a NASCAR Nationwide Series race in 2013, he won. In two starts, both at road courses, Allmendinger took the Team Penske No. 22 Ford to Victory Lane, leading a combined 102 of the 149 laps run at Road America and Mid-Ohio last year. At Sonoma, Allmendinger has two top 10s and has finished 13th or better in each of the last four races.

WDUN will have live PRN Radio coverge of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Savemart 350 from Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, CA beginning at 2 pm on 102.9 FM and 550 AM.

NASCAR Nationwide Series: Road America - Where The Series Meets The Road

Road America is the state of Wisconsin’s road-racing jewel; a four-mile road course in Elkhart Lake that boasts 14 turns and elevation changes that exceed 170 feet in one lap. The famed course has hosted many different series over the years, but this weekend, the NASCAR Nationwide Series makes its return for the Gardner Denver 200 Fired Up by Johnsonville.

Road America is the first of three road courses (Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio) on the series schedule in 2014. The track’s four-mile course is the largest of the three on the schedule and it has the most turns (14).

Unpredictability has been the latest theme when it comes to road-course racing in the NNS. Road America has hosted the series four times and has produced four different winners, none of whom are entered this weekend, making a fifth first-time winner at Road America the only guarantee.

Roush Fenway Racing’s Carl Edwards captured the inaugural NNS event (2010) at Road America from the pole. Then Turner Scott Motorsports rallied off two wins with Reed Sorenson (2011) and Nelson Piquet Jr. (2012). Team Penske’s formidable No. 22 team with AJ Allmendinger won last season. Three of the four winners of this event have started from the pole position making Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday morning, June 21 very important.

One driver with Road America on his mind is series standings leader Regan Smith, who holds a 14-point lead over second-place Elliott Sadler. Smith is looking to rebound from last season’s finish at Road America of 32nd; one of only two races he finished outside the top 20 in 2013. Smith’s series average finish on road courses is 20.6.

WDUN will have live MRN Radio coverage of Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Gardner Denver 200 from Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI beginning at 2:15 PM on 102.9 FM.

NASCAR Camping World Trucks: Wallace Adds Another Win To Resume

NASCAR Next and NASCAR Drive For Diversity graduate Darrell Wallace Jr. added a chapter to the record books last October when he became the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR national series event since NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Wendell Scott won in 1963 in Jacksonville, Fla. Just 10 starts later, Wallace secured his second win, this time in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ thrilling return to Gateway Motorsports Park last Saturday night.

The entire Kyle Busch Motorsports team celebrated the win as the two trucks in the series have combined for five of the seven wins this season. KBM truck chief Chris Showalter earned his 30th-career NCWTS win and extended his streak of never missing a NCWTS race, dating back to the series’ inaugural race on Feb. 5, 1995 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Showalter is the only crew member to never miss a race in the 468-race history of the series.
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