This week's race finds us in Northern California at Infineon Speedway, also known as Sonoma, or Sears Point. So all you Japanese tourists at Alcratraz, all you wine snobs in Napa, and all you rednecks along the Russian River...look out, NASCAR fans are amongst you. Actually, you guys at the Russian River will probably be okay.
Several so-called ringers annually show up at the road courses to show the roundy-rounders how it's done. Has one ever won a race here? Uh, no. Scott Pruett finished third a few years back. That's the ringers best finish so far.
Yet every year desperate car owners keep putting these driving school employees in a stock car. This year finds P.J. Jones in the #04, a second entry for Robby Gordon. The #09 Dodge, usually started and parked by Bliss or Marlin, has Ron Fellows making the lefts...and rights this time. Afroman, Boris Said also makes his annual start in the #08.
In 2007 Juan Montoya won as a rookie from the 32nd starting spot. Last year Kyle Busch became the youngest winner (23) here after starting 30th. With all kinds of crazy pit strategy going on here, starting position doesn't seem as critical as some other tracks. This is also one of the few tracks where a car can make a green flag pit stop and not lose a lap.
Here a few drivers who you wouldn't normaly think of as road race aces, but their finishes aren't too bad. Ryan Newman has 5 top-10s in seven starts here. Clint Bowyer has two top-5s in his three races. Kurt Busch has 3 top-5s in 8 starts. Elliott Sadler has 10 starts and four top-10s. Greg Biffle has two top-5s in six starts.
81 year old Hershel McGriff will be coming out of retirement to race in Saturday's CWWS companion event at Infineon. McGriff has been racing longer than NASCAR has. He was the then Winston West Most Popular Driver for 12 years running from 1981-1992.
The old lefthander, Kenny Stabler will be the Grand Marshall and give the starting command for Sunday's Cup race. The Snake is beloved in the Bay Area as the greatest Raider QB ever. He now can be heard doing football games for Alabama along with ex-NASCAR announcer Eli Gold.
Look for Stabler in the hospitality areas, probably hanging out by the refreshments in Robby Gordon's or Casey Mears' tents. If not there, check Kasey Kahne's or Kurt Busch's.
On Monday, radio shock jock, Bubba the Love Sponge, ingested the same meds as Jeremy Mayfield claimed to have taken before failing his drug test. Bubba's test showed positive for Meth, same as Mayfield's. Friday June 19, Bubba will do it again live on the radio. Catch Bubba on Sirius.
Only in Cali....3,000 sheep live on site, and 'mow' the grass at Infineon. They must be doing a hell of a job, because all I see around the track is dirt.
KL Valus' Nob Hill Mob will be at the track this weekend. In honor of their presence, Infineon has a free 'track walk' for fans after the race. Lug nuts will be placed around the track for fans to keep, included are specialy marked ones which can be redeemed for prizes, including a big screen TV. We can expect our gang of ringers to win, place, and show in that event.