SVG Leads An Eager NXS Contingent To Sonoma

Shane van Gisbergen

The NASCAR Xfinity Series continues the “course” with its second consecutive road course race in as many weeks with Saturday’s Zip Buy Now, Pay Later 250 at Sonoma Raceway (8 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Former NASCAR Cup Series full-timer Aric Almirola led 17 of the 79 laps claiming his first career road course win in Sonoma’s maiden NASCAR Xfinity Series race last year. He won’t be back to defend his trophy, but this weekend’s entry list includes a list of motivated series regulars and some big-name road course ringers.

Among those fulltime competitors, last week’s Portland winner, Shane van Gisbergen tops the list of favorites. The driver of the No. 97 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet won in his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the Chicago Street Race last year and earned his first ever NASCAR Xfinity Series trophy last Saturday.

Of course, his Kaulig teammate A.J. Allmendinger – the sport’s current road course ace – will be up to challenge. Allmendinger has 17 career Xfinity wins and 11 of them were on road courses – but he has never claimed a victory sip of wine at Sonoma.

JR Motorsports boasts a lineup of road course talent from three-time road course winner Justin Allgaier in the No. 7 Chevrolet; to three-time road course winner Sam Mayer in the No. 1 Chevrolet.

Current championship leader, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer is especially good on road courses too with a pair of road course wins. Overall, there are eight former Xfinity Series road course winners racing this weekend.

“We were really strong last weekend in Portland and I feel extremely confident that we will be just as quick in Sonoma,” said Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, who led the most laps and won both stages at Portland

“We were in position for a solid top-five here last year before we had some power steering issues and I know that we will be just as capable of running even better when we get to the track on Friday. This group is ready to go and hopefully we can put on a great show for everyone.”

That “show” will certainly feature a top-notch list of drivers this weekend with several part-timers and a “long-timer” hoping to make the field.

One of those is a NASCAR all-time fan favorite, Californian Boris Said who will drive the No. 17 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. A champion road course competitor in the Trans Am and IMSA ranks, Said won the 2010 Montreal road course NASCAR Xfinity Series race. This will be his first Xfinity Series start at Sonoma, but he has five top-10 finishes at the track in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Open-wheel and sports car Ed Jones is on the entry list in addition to 2022 series champion Gibbs and Nemechek, who are pulling double duty.

A 50-minute practice is slated for Friday at 4:05 p.m. ET (televised on FS1 at 5 p.m.) with Saturday qualifying at 3:30 p.m. ET (FS2) followed by the race’s green flag at 8 p.m. ET.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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