SONOMA, Cal. — For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, the NASCAR Cup Series is returning to a fully wide-open Sonoma Raceway.

In 2019 and 2021, the track was reconfigured back to the original 2.52-mile configuration with races being 90 laps – 226.8 miles.

This season, Sonoma Raceway will be returning the track configuration back to the 1.99-mile configuration with the return of the ‘chute.’

There have been 32 NASCAR Cup Series races at Sonoma Raceway since the first race there in 1989 – one race per season – until the 2020 season. Due to the pandemic, the series did not compete at Sonoma Raceway.

Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott (seven road course wins) and Kyle Larson (three road course wins) have been the two hottest road course drivers over the last few seasons.

Elliott, who leads all active drivers in road course wins, is currently ranked third on the NASCAR Cup Series all-time road course wins list behind NASCAR Hall of Famers Jeff Gordon with nine road course wins and Tony Stewart with eight.

Right behind Elliott on the active NASCAR Cup Series road course winners list are Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr with four road course wins each.

Truex is still in search of his first trip to Victory Lane this season. Busch finished fifth at Sonoma last season and Truex finished third – his third straight top five at the track. Watch for both to be towards the front this weekend as both have won at Sonoma before.

Larson grabbed his first and only victory of the 2022 season at the other points-paying track in the state of California, Auto Club Speedway.

In seven series starts at Sonoma, Larson has put up three poles, one win in 2021 and two top 10s.

One of the most consistent drivers in recent NASCAR Cup Series history seems to be spinning the tires as of late. Kevin Harvick’s last win was in 2020 at Bristol.

Harvick has dropped outside the Playoff cutline following World Wide Technology Raceway in the standings. Now, his streak of the last 12 consecutive seasons of making the Playoffs could be in jeopardy. He hasn’t missed a postseason in the NASCAR Cup Series since 2009, and he is tied with Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson for the all-time most Playoff appearances with 15 each.

Harvick won at Sonoma in 2017 but finished 22nd in last season’s race. He has made 20 starts at Sonoma posting one win and six top fives.

Sunday’s race at Sonoma Raceway is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. CT.