Homecoming King: Sonoma record-holder Gordon goes for one more win in backyard

Jeff Gordon (Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon (Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon (Getty Images)

Jeff Gordon – born in nearby Vallejo, California – boasts more than double the wins of any other driver at Sonoma Raceway.

He has visited Victory Lane at the West Coast road course five times.

The next best total?

Two.

In addition to holding the Sonoma wins record, Gordon is also its all-time leader in Coors Light Pole Awards (5), average finish (7.9), top fives (14), top 10s (18) and laps led (457).

Gordon will attempt to put on one more winning show for the home crowd in his final start at Sonoma Raceway – Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 (3 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1).

“Sonoma race weekend is always special to me because of family and friends and how good the track has been to me, but this weekend may be even more special because it’s my final race there,” Gordon said. “I am going to miss racing there.”

A Gordon detractor might point out the No. 24 Chevrolet driver hasn’t won a race at Sonoma since 2006. It’s true Gordon hasn’t been as dominant at the Northern California track since then, but he has still consistently posted strong showings. Gordon finished runner-up at Sonoma the past two seasons and three out of the last four. He also rides a nine-race top-10 streak dating back to his 2006 checkered flag.

Sustained Sonoma success is near impossible; ten different drivers have won the last 10 races there.

The only driver to visit Victory Lane in two consecutive races at Sonoma?

Gordon.

He won three straight contests at the Northern California loop from 1998-2000.

Last year’s winner Carl Edwards will try to become the second driver to successfully defend his Sonoma victory. Contenders other than Gordon and Edwards include: Kurt Busch, who was the 2011 Sonoma winner and owns the best driver rating at the track (106.5), as well as road course ace AJ Allmendinger, who won NASCAR’s last road course race at Watkins Glen in 2014.

Edwards explained why it’s so hard to win at Sonoma.

“It’s pure driving, left, right, using all the gears, managing the tires, and pit strategy comes in to play,” Edwards said. “This is a tough race and it’s also one of the most physically demanding races. It’s mentally-tasking.”

NASCAR Race Weekend Guide

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Race: Toyota/Save Mart 350

Track: Sonoma Raceway

Date and Time: Sunday, June 28 at 3 p.m. (ET)

Tune-In: FOX Sports 1, 3 p.m. (ET), PRN, SiriusXM Ch. 90

Distance: 218.9 miles (110 laps)

What To Watch For: Ten different drivers have won in the last 10 races at Sonoma. … Jeff Gordon – NASCAR’s all-time leader in road course wins (9) and Sonoma’s wins record holder (5) – returns to his hometrack for the final time. … Jamie McMurray looks to motor toward his third consecutive Coors Light Pole Award at Sonoma. … Arnold Schwarzenneger will serve as Official Pace Car driver of the Toyota / Save Mart 350. … Northern California natives Kyle Larson and AJ Allmendinger hope for some home cooking as they try to secure spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.