Nascar Exclusive Race Report

Stewart-Haas Race Report:
Sonoma Raceway|6/25/2017

by Greg Zipadelli|Vice President of Competition, Stewart-Haas Racing

Friday: Practice

“The format at Sonoma is a little bit different than most weekends. We only had two practices Friday and then we qualified Saturday with no practice before the race. So, we worked on both qualifying and race setups during the Friday practice. Our cars were decent. Clint (Bowyer) was really good, especially on long runs. Danica (Patrick) had a solid car too. Kurt (Busch) and Kevin (Harvick) were upbeat. There wasn’t much drama and we thought we were pretty good for Saturday and Sunday.”

Saturday: Qualifying

“There wasn’t much strategy. You just wanted a clean lap. On a road course, you have to make sure you don’t get held up by one of the other cars. We wanted good qualifying spots because it is hard to pass on this track during the race.

“This weekend, there were only two rounds of qualifying. Only 12 cars advanced to the second round. Clint thought he had posted a time fast enough during round one when he was ninth, but he got knocked out in the final minute so he started 13th. Kurt went twice but couldn’t advance and he ended up 17th. Kevin had a good run and started 12th, while Danica ended up sixth – her best run of the season and it was the third-best qualifying result of her career. That was really cool.”

Sunday: Race

“Obviously, it was a great day for the organization. First and second with Kevin and Clint is pretty special. That was the third time in SHR history we’ve been able to do that. Danica and Kurt both ran really well, too. Everyone should be proud of the work they’ve done at SHR.

“Our strategy for the race was to survive. We thought it would be pretty chaotic in the end. As it turned out, the first half of the race was pretty hectic. There were so many strategies it was hard to follow. But the long, green-flag run to the checkered flag turned it into a pretty tame race. We didn’t want a whole lot of drama in the end. Kevin and Clint ran clean and got the 1-2 finish.

“Other than Kevin, everyone seemed to have something during the race. Clint got hit a couple of times, Kurt had some damage and Danica got caught up in a few incidents. But they all bounced back.”