So much for the longer course experience.
After two races in full track configuration with the Carrousel, Sonoma Racing Circuit elected for NASCAR to return to the pre-2019 track layout which bypasses the area to form what is called the Chute.
The carousel, located after turn four, is featured in the usual Sonoma setup as many other series such as the NTT IndyCar Series used; with the Carrousel, the track is 2.52 miles (4.056 km) long with twelve bends. Although NASCAR also originally used it when it started racing there in 1989, the track added the drop that connects turns four and seven in 1998 for NASCAR events, shortening the distance to 1,949 mi ( 3,137 km). Turn four was modified three years later to accommodate the change, adjusting the track length to 3.203 km.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the track in 2019, NASCAR has started reusing the Carousel course, so the chute is only used for track days and club events. Although the change was to a longer track length, it received a mixed reception from fans who felt he was eliminating a passing zone.
“It’ll be more exciting for the fans just because it’s a few wild turns with some new hairy passing areas,” commented defending Cup Series champion and winner of sonoma Kyle larson. Martin Truex Jr. is the other driver to win on the Carrousel route in 2019 (the 2020 race has been canceled due to COVID-19). “Mistakes can be made on those corners when you bounce around the corners so the cars will move a lot. It will be exciting. It will be pretty wild as you can go all the way to the exit of turn 4 on the other side of the curve and barely miss the wall.
While the race distance for the Toyota / Save Mart 350 will remain at 350 km, the number of laps will drop from 90 to 110 laps. the Camping World Truck Series, who last raced at Sonoma in 1998, is also set to return to the California circuit.
“Drivers and fans alike missed the passing opportunities and the tight races created by the crash, so we’ll be returning to that setup for the NASCAR Cup Series and the return of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. “ NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition said Scott Miller. “NASCAR has seen the drama and incredible action in the road races, and we look forward to even more intensity as the Next Gen race car debuts and the Fall returns to Sonoma.”