The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West returns to Sonoma Raceway for its 38th consecutive visit at the Carneros 200 on June 23. The 64-lap event will feature a full field of up-and-coming stars, including NASCAR NEXT drivers Derek Kraus and Hailie Deegan, as well as several Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars, including Erik Jones, Daniel Suárez, Aric Almirola and Alex Bowman.
Competing in the West Series race offers drivers extra track time before Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event, as highlighted by California native Kevin Harvick, who became the first-ever driver to win both the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race and the Carneros 200 NASCAR Pro Series West race in the same weekend last year.
“It kept me from sitting around and trying to find something to do on Saturday,” said Harvick. “I’m sitting around and there’s guys out there making laps and learning things, and I think the most important thing is to never take for granted that you have to try to expand your knowledge and keep an open mind to making things better.”
The West Series boasts nine different race winners over the past nine years in Sonoma, five of which have been NASCAR Cup regulars. Harvick also won the West Series event at then-Infineon Raceway in 1998, en route to the 1998 West Series championship.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series continues to be the proving ground for the future stars of the sport. The influx of talented young drivers in both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East the last few years has been noteworthy, with drivers like Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Daniel Suarez moving up the NASCAR ladder.
The Carneros 200 will feature NASCAR Next drivers, including Kraus, who finished fifth in Sonoma last year, as well as Toyota Racing Development driver Deegan, who recently took to the Sonoma Raceway road course for her first laps on the circuit during a one-day test session. They will race alongside NASCAR West Series regulars including current points leader Ryan Partridge and Will Rodgers, who placed second to Harvick last year.
“I think it’s going to be fun. The track is hard, though. If you make a mistake, you’re definitely going to pay,” said Deegan, who will pilot the No. 19 Mobil 1/NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing. “It’s cool they throw a couple of road course races into the NASCAR circuit. It’s just something cool and different than not everyone gets to experience.”
Race weekend will feature a Carneros 200 practice session on Friday, with qualifying on Saturday morning before the green flags falls on the 64-lap feature at 1:30 p.m.