Saturday’s qualifying for Sunday’s Toyota/SaveMart 350 Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway should be v-e-r-y interesting.
Not only are there the usual ringers like Boris Said running on the 1.99-mile road course, four young drivers will be hoping to make their Sprint Cup Series debut.
Of course, that’s going to be easier said than done, as they all have to go through qualifying — and a new-style qualifying at that, with so-called group qualifying instead of single-car qualification attempts.
The four NASCAR newbies are the pictured Alex Kennedy (No. 19), Victor Gonzalez Jr. (No. 36), Paulie Harraka (No. 52) and last-minute entry Justin Marks, who will be driving the No. 7 for Tommy Baldwin Racing.
The last time a NASCAR race had three or more drivers making their Sprint Cup debut was at Martinsville Speedway in October 2004, when Travis Kvapil, Chad Chaffin and Mario Gosselin all qualifying and taking the green flag on race day.
For the record, Kvapil was the highest finisher in that race, winding up 21st. Chaffin didn’t fare as well, finishing 39th, and Gosselin wound up 41st.