Cup drivers got their first laps on the Carousel on Friday at Sonoma Raceway, a half-mile addition that includes a sweeping left-hand turn and leads to a hairpin at Turn 7. The Carousel was last used in a Cup race in 1997.
Here’s what some drivers had to say about running the Carousel:
Joey Logano — “The thing that is still an unknown is how it races. We got behind some cars in traffic in practice to see what effect it has to your car and those little things. There are a lot of unknowns until we race in all honesty.”
Ryan Newman — “The Carousel just took a little bit of learning for me and figuring out braking points and what the car balance is going to be like as it went through the corners. Other than that, I guess maybe a little bit of catch-up for me because I came in with a mindset of 18 or 19 years of what I used to do and it isn’t that anymore.”
Kyle Larson — “I actually feel like it’s kind of an odd corner just because I feel like I have a lot of grip for the first two-thirds of the corner. And then, like as we get back on the drag strip, I lose all sorts of grip. So, that’s been tricky. It’s been a tricky corner. But, it is what it is. You can’t really pass there anyway.”
William Byron — “It’s so blind on entry, so it’s going to be hard to make much out of the entry. I’m sure there will be some passes there once we are all together and stuffed in there, but I don’t know. I think the biggest area to focus on will be exiting that Carousel and trying to get that good so you can launch to the next corner.”
Paul Menard — “It is a pretty tricky corner in Turn 6. The exit of it is off-camber wide and you get push. If you can hug it a little tighter and get a run off, you will be able to get inside of somebody for Turn 7. It is a good passing zone.”
Bubba Wallace — “In watching all the races, it’s cool to watch Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt go at it there. But, it’s different now. So, we’ll see. We’ll just have to mind our P’s and Q’s and be on our toes the entire time.”