Toyota/Save Mart 350 (Cup Series) Predictions, Odds & Picks

ToyotaSave Mart 350

  • Chase Elliott is getting closer to a significant road course milestone in Cup Series.
  • As two-time defending winner, should Martin Truex Jr. be favored this week?
  • A tale of two Busch brothers and their very different prospects at Sonoma.

Bet on Toyota/Save Mart 350, Here!

Hot, slick, and technically challenging. That’s an apt description of the Sonoma Raceway road course, where NASCAR Cup Series drivers will compete in the Toyota/ Save Mart 350 on Sunday.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, NASCAR didn’t race at the 2.52-mile circuit in 2020, and Martin Truex Jr. didn’t have a chance to defend his 2019 victory there. In that same year, the course was lengthened from 1.99 miles with the addition of Turns 5 and 6.

Sunday’s race will be contested over 90 laps (226.8 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 20 and 40 laps.

How to Watch Toyota/Save Mart 350

Toyota/Save Mart 350 Information
Race Toyota/ Save Mart 350 NASCAR Cup Series Race
Location Sonoma Raceway
Time Sunday, June 6, 4 p.m. ET
How to Watch FS1

Chase Elliott’s Ascent in Road Course Record Book Is Accelerating

Two weeks ago at Circuit of the Americas, reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott finally got his first victory of the 2021 season. Appropriately, it came on a road course.

Since 2018, Elliott has been the unrivaled master of circuits that turn right as well as left. His first victory in NASCAR’s premier division came at Watkins Glen in 2018. All told, six of Elliott’s 12 wins have come on road courses.

That puts the driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in an elite company. In his sixth season at stock car racing’s top level, Elliott is tied with Rusty Wallace and Ricky Rudd for third all-time in road course victories.

Only Tony Stewart with eight wins and Jeff Gordon with nine are ahead of him. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the 25-year-old from Dawsonville, Georgia, is the heavy favorite to win Sunday’s race at +205, according to PointsBet Sportsbook.

There’s one problem. Elliott has never been particularly strong at Sonoma. In four Cup starts at the track, his best finish was fourth in 2018. In 2019, an engine failure knocked him out in 37th place.

Because of his Sonoma record alone, we advise looking elsewhere for a driver to back at the California track.

Bet on Chase Elliott, Here!

As Two-Time Defending Winner, Should Martin Truex Jr. Be the Favorite?

Martin Truex Jr. is the leading active NASCAR Cup Series winner at Sonoma Raceway with three victories, the last two coming consecutively in 2018 and 2019. He’s the only driver in the field to win on the course’s current configuration

Because the Cup Series didn’t race at the 2.52-mile road course in 2020, Truex returns to the track for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 as the two-time defending winner of the event.

It took the driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota seven years to figure out the technical layout at Sears Point before he got his first victory in 2013. In between that win and his 2018 triumph, Truex’s record was spotty, with one top-five in the intervening four years.

But Truex brings a level of confidence to Sonoma that certainly justifies listing him as the second choice for the race at +380. Based on his recent record versus Elliott’s, we think he should be No. 1 on the board—and will be on the asphalt on Sunday.

Bet on Martin Truex Jr, Here!

A Tale of Two Busch Brothers—and Their Very Different Prospects for Sunday

Brothers Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch both are former winners at Sonoma Raceway, but that’s where the similarity ends as they approach Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350.

Kyle already has won a race this year. Kurt has been struggling on a mistake-prone Chip Ganassi racing team that hasn’t measured up to Kurt’s talent as an elite driver.

Kyle is coming off a third-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will start fifth in Sunday’s race.

Kurt was 38th at Charlotte, where his car threw an accessory belt before the engine failed in the No. 1 Chevrolet. Consequently, thanks to NASCAR’s metric qualifying formula, Kurt will start 30th on Sunday.

For the record, only twice in 32 races has a driver started 30th or lower and won at Sonoma—Juan Pablo Montoya from 32nd in 2007 and Kyle Busch from 30th in 2008. The next worst start for a former winner was 14th (Truex in 2013).

So while we think Kyle is an excellent bet at +775, Kurt is a long shot to be avoided, even at +6000.

Bet on Kyle Busch, Here!

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Reid Spencer

Expert on NASCAR

Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]