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Good news, bad news for NASCAR Cup teams ahead of Sonoma weekend

NASCAR heads to Sonoma Raceway this weekend for the second road course race on the Cup schedule.

Martin Truex won last year’s race at Sonoma, leading 51 of 110 laps. Kyle Busch was second. Joey Logano was third.

None of those drivers has won a Cup points race this season.

Here’s a look at where things stand for each Cup organization heading into the 16th race of the season:

23XI Racing — Good news: Tyler Reddick has four consecutive top 10s at road courses, the longest active streak in the series. Reddick has three wins on road courses in the Next Gen car, most among all drivers. Bad news: Reddick has not finished better than 19th at Sonoma and has an average finish of 29.0 there. … Bubba Wallace has only one top 10 in the last six races. … Wallace has two top 10s in 28 career road course starts in Cup.

Front Row Motorsports — Good news: Michael McDowell has placed in the top 10 in both Cup races at Sonoma in the Next Gen car. He was third in 2022 and seventh last year. Bad News: Todd Gilliland has finished 24th in both his Sonoma starts in the Next Gen car.

Hendrick Motorsports — Good news: Kyle Larson has started first in five of the last six races at Sonoma. … Alan Gustafson, crew chief for Chase Elliott, has the most wins on road courses (seven) among active crew chiefs. … Chase Elliott has completed all but one of the 4,343 laps run this season, best in the series. Bad news: William Byron has one top-10 finish at Sonoma in five starts, and Alex Bowman has two top 10s in seven starts there.

NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600
NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600

NASCAR explains decision to grant Kyle Larson a playoff waiver

Kyle Larson needed a waiver after missing the start of the Coca-Cola 600 while he was racing in the Indianapolis 500.

Joe Gibbs Racing — Good news: Martin Truex Jr. has four wins at Sonoma, including three in the last five races. … Truex will pass Jimmie Johnson for sixth on the all-time mark of consecutive starts with his 664th start in a row this weekend. … Ty Gibbs has finished in the top five in the last three road course events. … Christoper Bell has won each of the last four stages this season. … Points leader Denny Hamlin has five consecutive top-five finishes. That’s tied with his longest streak in 2019 and ’21. Bad news: Bell has four pit road speeding penalties this season, most on the team.

AUTO: JUN 01 NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter
AUTO: JUN 01 NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter

Denny Hamlin maintains No. 1 spot in NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

Brad Keselowski moves up a spot to second.

JTG Daugherty Racing — Good news: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished 12th at Sonoma last year, his best result at that track. Bad news: Stenhouse’s average finish at Sonoma is 25.5.

Kaulig Racing — Good news: AJ Allmendinger is in the No. 16 this weekend. He finished sixth at Sonoma last year, his best finish at that track in Cup. Bad news: After back-to-back ninth-place finishes at Talladega and Dover, Daniel Hemric has not finished better than 18th in the four points races since.

Legacy Motor Club — Good news: Jimmie Johnson will be inducted into the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame Thursday at Sonoma Raceway. Also being inducted in this year’s class is Cal Wells, CEO of Legacy Motor Club … Both John Hunter Nemechek and Erik Jones did the Skip Barber Racing School in April at Sonoma Raceway. Bad news: Jones does not have a top-10 finish in his last 12 starts on a road course.

Richard Childress Racing — Good news: Austin Dillon finished a season-best sixth last weekend at WWT Raceway. ... Australian Supercars driver Will Brown will make his Cup debut this weekend, driving the No. 33 car. Bad news: Kyle Busch is outside a playoff spot with 11 races left in the regular season after finishing 35th last weekend. … Busch is winless in his last 36 starts, tied for the longest drought in his Cup career. … Dillon has two top 10s in 35 career Cup road course starts.

NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 - Qualifying
NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 - Qualifying

Kyle Busch crashes during Indy tire test

Kyle Busch was evaluated and released from the infield care center.

Rick Ware Racing — Good news: Justin Haley has scored two top-10 finishes in the last three points races. … Kaz Grala’s best career start came on a road course. He started 10th at the Daytona Road Course in 2020 and finished seventh. Bad news: The organization’s best finish at Sonoma is 20th.

RFK Racing — Good news: Chris Buescher is the only driver to finish in the top five in both Sonoma races in the Next Gen car. He was second in 2022 and fourth last year. … Buescher also has the best average finish in Cup on road courses in the Next Gen car at 8.4. ... Australian Supercars driver Cam Waters will make his Cup debut this weekend, driving the No. 60 car. Bad news: Brad Keselowski has one top-10 finish in his last 19 road course starts.

Spire Motorsports — Good news: Carson Hocevar finished a career-best eighth in last weekend’s Cup race at WWT Raceway. Bad news: Both Corey LaJoie and rookie Zane Smith are outside the top 30 in points. LaJoie is 32nd; Smith is 34th.

Stewart-Haas Racing — Good news: Josh Berry has finished 15th or better in four of the last five races. Bad news: Chase Briscoe has one top 10 in last six races and is the first driver below the playoff cutline. … SHR’s four drivers have combined to lead 60 laps this season. Seventeen Cup drivers have led more than 60 laps this year.

Team Penske — Good news: Austin Cindric is in the playoffs after snapping an 85-race winless drought with his victory last weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Bad news: Cindric took the lead when teammate Ryan Blaney ran out of fuel shortly before the final lap. Blaney remains winless this season. … Joey Logano has not won a points race this year and is outside a playoff spot.

Trackhouse Racing — Good news: Ross Chastain is tied for third in the series in laps run. He’s completed all but four of the 4,343 laps run this year. … Daniel Suarez ranks fifth in the series in laps run. He’s completed all but 13 laps this year. Bad news: Chastain has one top 10 in the last nine races. … Suarez has not scored any stage points in the last nine races.

Wood Brothers Racing — Good news: Harrison Burton’s average running position of 24.7 last week at WWT Raceway was his best in the last five races and second best in the last 12 races. Bad news: Burton has not qualified better than 30th in the last four races.