Cup Series Drivers at Sonoma After Practice & Qualifying


By Adam Carabine


The Cup Series wrapped up their practice and qualifying at Sonoma Raceway Saturday. Some of the drivers were available to the media afterward, here’s what they had to say:


Todd Gilliland on his first time driving at Sonoma with the Cup Series:

“We always prepare with the simulator, watching film, [SMT data]. That’s a really big tool that’s new to me this year. I’m just trying to take it all in. There’s still so many things that can prepare you for what’s going to actually happen in real life. All this stuff is either in the past with a whole different car, or the simulator which is kind of our best guess at it. I’m excited, I love road course racing in general, so Sonoma should be a lot of fun. The area’s beautiful. Overall I’m really excited for it but definitely a little nervous here to make some laps.”

Alex Bowman on what he can learn from also running the Camping World Truck Series Race:

“[The Truck vs. the Cup car, they're] pretty different, especially these days with the new car. But I think just getting extra laps on track is always good, never a bad thing. On top of that, with practice being so short at 20 minutes, I think being ahead of things, already having a practice and qualifying on the track with the Truck is a big positive for a Cup driver."

Chase Briscoe on what makes him one of the better road course racers:

“I don’t know, I feel like for me, going and running the IMSA stuff in 2018, when Ford had me go do that, was a huge learning thing for me to go do and understand road courses better, the mentality that it takes. Totally opposite of NASCAR stuff, there you have teammates that are driving the exact same car that has data on it. So I was always paired up with Austin Cindric so that allowed me to see what does really well and he’s obviously one of the best road racers, so being able to be with him and be teammates with him, and him just being an open book was really what kind of got me closer on the road course side of things.”

Martin Truex Jr. talks about his car and the conditions out on track:

“It was really slick at the start of the session I was in. It’s not optimum conditions, of course, but I guess it’s always slick here. Right now, we won’t be starting too close to the front, so I think some strategy [will be important]. We feel like we came here better prepared [than we did at COTA], and I completely screwed up my qualifying lap. So, the car feels decent and it’ll be alright tomorrow.”

Kevin Harvick talks about expectations for the Next-Gen Cup car at tracks where we haven't seen it yet:

“Every time I think something’s going to go a particular way, it just goes the opposite way, so there’s no rhyme or reason to what happens with this car. Until we go there, I don’t know. You go there with low expectations with what to expect. We went to Texas – [it was a] total bomb. Then we went to Charlotte, it looked like the most spectacular thing you’ve ever seen. If anybody can tell me why, let me know, because I have no idea.”

Ryan Blaney talks about his favourite section of the track, and on whether a win is coming soon:

“I’ve always liked the transition from [turn] 3 to [turn] 4.That kind of blind, over the hill type of thing, I’ve always enjoyed that corner, kind of guessing where you’re going, so that makes it fun. Hopefully we get to Victory Lane soon. I’d give the all-star win away for a normal win just to lock into the playoffs. I think we’re close, we just have to keep fighting because things change every week and other teams find stuff, and you’ve got to capitalize on moments when your cars are fast.”

Chase Elliott explained what he said to Ross Chastain after some drama together last week at WWT Gateway:

“I just told him that he’s fast, and they have a lot of pace, and he’s going to be just as successful with that pace that he has, if he’s a little more mindful of the positions he puts himself and others in at points of the race that don’t matter as much […] I tried to take the high road on it and tell him my opinion.He can take it and do with it what he wants, or not, and I’m fine either way.”

Joey Logano discusses whether there might be more than 16 different winners this season:

“There’s not going to be more than 16 drivers.I don’t see it happening.I could see a few more winners, especially at tracks like this, where you can just pop in there.There’s a few drivers that probably should have wins right now that don’t but they’re also kind of up there in points.We never have since we started this.It ain’t gonna happen… maybe I’m wrong though.”


The Cup Series tackles Sonoma on Sunday June 12th at 4:00pm EST, 1:00pm PST.