The NASCAR Cup Series heads to the Sonoma Raceway for the Toyota / Save Mart 350, and Tyler Reddick expressed excitement for his first race at the venue, yet he says it will be a difficult challenge to overcome.
Reddick, when asked about how he is preparing for the race at Sonoma, said that runs in simulators like iRacing are his primary source for knowledge of the raceway, admitting he doesn’t need to go through race footage.
“It’s really hard to go back and put a lot of, I guess, faith in past races because the tires continued to change quite a lot from the last time they raced here,” Reddick told the media, including ASN Motorsports. “And of course, one big factor is that they weren’t running the layout that they are right now, the one we’ll go back on Sunday. That layout has been run with the high downforce package.
“There are some things to take from it, the fall-off is probably going to be more with less downforce, but it’s still a road course, it’s still Sonoma, is one that you can prepare for without having to go through a lot of race footage.
“It’s still a road course in a fact that the way you want to make passes, how you want to make lap times, and some other visual markets and everything, you kind of gather through the manufacturer simulator or iRacing, so I haven’t been thinking so hard on past race footage to prepare myself for this race.
“I’m just trying to prepare and be better for this road race in general, and Sonoma just happens to be the one we’ve been focusing on for the last couple of weeks.”
Reddick, while admitting he comes into Sonoma without any kind of real-life knowledge on it, talked about passing on the circuit, saying it is a game of strategy in a road course, and that the give-and-take factors are amplified by the track characteristics.
“I’ve never seen it [Sonoma Raceway], I don’t know. I ran it plenty and what not, but I don’t even know what airport we’re flying to. I don’t know where I’m going.
“It’s still a road course [in terms of] the technique and how you kind of set up to pass somebody. You don’t complete the pass in one corner. So it’s kind of a chess match, you kind of try to poke your nose a little bit, make the guy think about, ‘is he going to wreck me? Oh, he didn’t’, and now the guy misses the apex and you have an opportunity to pass him down.
“It’s kind of a chess match with the elevation gain and loss, and that just amplifies the amount of give and take, it’s all about carrying momentum and you got to have a trade off somewhere if you’re trying to gain an advantage and gain momentum in another part of the race track. It’ll be definitely challenging for me and for the other drivers, so I’m excited for that challenge.”