David Ragan No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Sonoma Preview

More than 2,750 miles separate Michael Waltrip Racing’s race shop and Sonoma Raceway. It will take the NASCAR Sprint Cup team’s two race haulers at least 40 hours to drive non-stop from North Carolina to reach the gates of the California road course.

But, when they arrive, it will feel like home.

MWR’s greatest Sprint Cup success has come at the 2.52-mile, 12-turn track. Since 2012, MWR drivers have competed in seven Sonoma races visiting victory lane twice and notching four top-five finishes. A MWR car has led 145 of 332 laps (44 percent) at Sonoma since 2012.

There remains one major complaint about the track that sits in the heart of California wine country.

“There’s only one race a year there. We want more,” laughed driver David Ragan who hopes to add to MWR’s success in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 – the first of the season’s two road races.

“Ever since I joined MWR in May I’ve heard talk about Sonoma. As a competitor, I’ve watched their cars there the last several years and I’ve seen how good they are. That gives you a lot of confidence going into the weekend. You can’t wait to get to the track. We are making gains each weekend we work together and I think we can take another step forward this weekend.”

Ragan knows the easiest way to gain a spot in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup is winning a race. The next two races are prime opportunities for the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota.

This weekend’s road course race coupled with the July 5 restrictor plate race in Daytona — Ragan owns two career victories in restrictor plate races — could be tracks where Ragan can punch a ticket into the 16-driver, 10-race playoff.

“MWR has won at Sonoma and I have won at Daytona. Hopefully we can combine those histories and get us a victory at either place. I think this weekend will be one of the best races of the 2015 season. You will probably see a lot of different strategies play out with the goal to get track position for the end of the race and race for the win.

“Daytona will be Daytona. It will be wild and anything can and usually does happen. This is a fun part of the year.”   

MWR PR
Speedway Digest Staff

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