By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Sonoma Raceway announced Monday “The Chute,” the layout NASCAR ran from 1998-2018, will make its return June 10-12.
This comes after the Cup Series ran “The Carousel” layout (2.52-mile circuit) in 2019 and 2021. Those respective races were won by Martin Truex, Jr. and Kyle Larson.
Sonoma General Manager Jill Gregory explained in a press release that fans openly expressed how much they’ve enjoyed the 1.99-mile layout.
“We heard from many fans and drivers how much they loved it when we raced the Chute,” said Gregory. “The Carousel was part of the original course and we reverted back to it for our 50th Anniversary in 2019 and used it again in 2021. But we race to bring excitement and drama to the fans, and an overwhelming majority of them asked us to bring back the Chute.”
Defending race winner Larson said “The Chute” creates opportunities for drivers to make more passes, but also adds a unique challenge where a flawless lap is key.
“It will be more exciting for the fans just because those are a couple of wild corners with some new hairy passing zones,” said the reigning Cup champion. “Mistakes can be made in those corners when you’re bouncing over curves so the cars will be moving around a lot. It will be exciting. It will be pretty wild because you can go all the way to exit of Turn 4 on the other side of the curve and barely miss the wall.”
With this announcement, the Toyota/Save Mart 350 (Sunday, June 12) returns back to 110 laps with stages ending on Laps 25 and 55. Truex was the last driver to win in the 1.99-mile layout in 2018 which marked his second of three Sonoma victories.
For the Camping World Truck Series, it’ll be a 75-lap event with their stages concluding on Laps 20 and 45 as the series makes its return to Napa Valley for the first time since 1998. It’ll also be one of six races 2006 series champion Todd Bodine will compete for Halmar Friesen Racing.
Finally, the ARCA Menards Series West’s General Tire 200, the event Chase Briscoe won last year, will consist of 64 laps. It’ll take place before the Truck Series race Saturday, June 11.