NASCAR has traded in the ‘Carousel’ for a return to the familiar ‘Chute’ section of Sonoma Raceway in 2022.
NASCAR utilized the longer 2.52-mile layout, which bypassed the Chute, from 2019 to 2021. The shorter layout was used from 1998 to 2018.
“We heard from many fans and drivers how much they loved it when we raced the Chute,” said Sonoma Raceway EVP and General Manager Jill Gregory. “The Carousel was part of the original course and we reverted back to it for our 50th Anniversary in 2019 and used it again in 2021. But we race to bring excitement and drama to the fans, and an overwhelming majority of them asked us to bring back the Chute.”
The Toyota/Save Mart 350 race distance will not be changed, resulting in 20 additional laps for the 2022 event (from 90 to 110). Stage 1 will end at Lap 25 and Stage 2 at Lap 55. Additionally, the NASCAR Truck Series will return to Sonoma for the first time in over two decades with 75 laps set as the race length.
“Drivers and fans have missed the passing opportunities and close racing created by the Chute so we’ll be returning to that configuration for the NASCAR Cup Series and the return of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR Senior VP of Competition. “NASCAR has seen drama and incredible action at road course races, and we’re looking forward to even more intensity as the Next Gen race car debuts and the Chute returns at Sonoma.”
2021 Sonoma race winner and newly crowned Cup Series champion Kyle Larson said of the change: “It will be more exciting for the fans just because those are a couple of wild corners with some new hairy passing zones. Mistakes can be made in those corners when you’re bouncing over curves so the cars will be moving around a lot. It will be exciting. It will be pretty wild because you can go all the way to exit of Turn 4 on the other side of the curve and barely miss the wall.”