Sonoma brings Carousel back for 2019 NASCAR races

Sonoma brings Carousel back for 2019 NASCAR races


Sonoma brings Carousel back for 2019 NASCAR races


Sonoma Raceway will mark its 50th anniversary by reverting to its original 12-turn, 2.52-mile course layout and Carousel section when NASCAR returns in 2019.

“I really enjoyed that course, and I was looking forward to maybe one day getting a victory on that course,” said Jeff Gordon, who competed on both layouts but won his five Sonoma races on the shorter version. “I’m excited. I think this is a great. It adds a completely different element to the technical skills it’s going to take from the drivers. It’s a much more demanding track.

“Not only the Carousel and the great braking and passing zones coming to (Turn) 7, but as you turn off (Turn) 4 there is actually a kink, I think they call it 5 now, a very fast right-hander. We’ve seen some pretty wild video of some things that have happened there when cars have tried to go side-by-side there. So, from a broadcaster standpoint, I’m excited about it because of the new element, the freshness and how it’s going to be different. … And I think the competition is going to be fantastic.”

NASCAR previously used the carousel from 1989 until 1997. Since 1998 the course has been shortened to a 1.99-mile configuration with cars using a bypass to race from Turn 4A straight down to right-hander Turn 7.

“The Carousel is a corner where history has been made, and as we celebrate the half-century of track history in 2019, we are excited to re-introduce this signature turn on the Sonoma Raceway circuit,” said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager.

“We look forward to seeing a new generation of racers battle through this challenging corner and create moments fans will remember 50 years from now.”

The Toyota/Save Mart 350 is scheduled for June 23, 2019. Sonoma Raceway officials say the race is expected to be 85 laps and the race distance will remain at 350 kilometers.