NASCAR: A lap at Sonoma with A.J. Allmendinger (VIDEO)

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A.J. Allmendinger has not made a Sprint Cup start at Sonoma Raceway since the 2012 season, when he finished ninth for Team Penske.

Perhaps with that in mind, he and his JTG Daugherty Racing team made their way there earlier this month for a two-day test session.

The 1.99-mile circuit is a treacherous one but when asked what he thought was its toughest challenge, the former open-wheel standout didn’t choose a specific section of track.

Instead, he noted the importance of saving the rear tires as the car makes its way out of the corners.

“It is real easy to see a guy make a mistake or just try to be aggressive, and you quickly burn your rear tires off, and then you are done the rest of the stint,” said Allmendinger, who was 18th and 15th respectively in yesterday’s two Sprint Cup practices at Sonoma.

“I think that is what everybody works on here, and that is what they focus on is trying to get the forward drive. If you don’t have that, you aren’t going to win the race, so it is the most critical part of this race track to me.”

In the clip above, you’ll see what Allmendinger must deal with this weekend as he makes his way around the technically demanding Sonoma layout.

Qualifying for tomorrow’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 will take place later this afternoon at 1:40 p.m. ET. For Allmendinger and Jamie McMurray’s thoughts on how the new knock-out qualifying format will look in its road course debut, click here.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”