The first of the season’s two road courses is up next on the Sprint Cup schedule. It’s all the way out west to just north of San Francisco at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. It’s a 12-turn course, just a shade under two miles long.

All of the attention this week has been focused on Dale Earnhardt, Junior after he finally broke that 143-race winless streak last Sunday at Michigan. NASCAR’s most popular driver is having one of the best seasons of his career. Including last Sunday’s win, Junior has 12 top-10 finishes this season and has climbed to within four points of points leader Matt Kenseth.

Earnhardt is now focusing on more wins for those extra bonus points before the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, but Junior’s had a tough time on road courses. His best finish in 12 races at Sonoma was 11th.

He’s in great shape in the standings, but how about Jeff Gordon? He’s currently 20th but a win this week helps out big time. Gordon holds the series record for most wins on road courses with nine, including five at Sonoma, but it’s been six years since his last one.

Kurt Busch is the defending champion. What a day he had leading 76 of 110 laps. He’s having a horrible year this season with just one top-10 finish.

Former baseball manager Tony LaRussa is the Grand Marshall and he’ll have the honor of telling the drivers to start their engines.

Nationwide drivers are in Wisconsin this weekend.