NASCAR Drivers Encounter Road Rage in Wine Country

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IJune 17, 2010

BROOKLYN, MI - JUNE 12:  Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont/National Guard Job Skills Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 12, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

The game plans change as drivers head to wine country and tempers are sure to flare as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racers shift their focus to right hand turns at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.

Denny Hamlin's mantra of "all we do is win" will likely not hold true at the upcoming race.

Hamlin has never won on a road course and has only one top-five finish at this track.

Tony Stewart appears to be mounting a serious assault on making the Chase.  He has two wins at Infineon Raceway.

Currently the driver of the No. 14 Office Depot Chevy is 11th in the Sprint Cup points standings.

Stewart's promise to make the highlight videos will more than likely be carried out during the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

Stewart has two wins and finished second last year at Infineon Raceway.

Kasey Kahne is on a roll, having finished second in Michigan after the Pocono debacle with his teammate.

His record at this road course reflects only one win and one top-five finish. 

He is sure to be a factor in the front-runners if his Budweiser Ford from Richard Petty Motorsports is competitive.

Our NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, Jimmie Johnson, fails to show his prowess at road courses with the win column showing zero.

Daddy-to-be Johnson may either be distracted by wife Chandra's upcoming due date in a few weeks or driven to win in honor of the new baby. 

A Father's Day win would be special for him for sure.

Another expectant father, Jeff Gordon is sure to be the top contender for a win in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.  It will not only be Father's Day, but the birthday of his daughter Ella.

The California native is sure to showcase his road-racing ability. 

His record at Sonoma is stellar, having led 437 laps which is more than any other driver.

Gordon has won three races from the pole and has five wins in total at Sonoma.

Juan Pablo Montoya is sure to be in the mix banging fenders on his way through traffic.

He knows how to win on a road course, but usually victimizes a few drivers on his way toward the front.

NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader, Kevin Harvick, just may have his 22-point lead knocked from beneath him at Infineon.

Harvick is not known for his road-racing ability and with controversy on his side, he may be involved in some "have at it" antics on the winding course.

Kyle Busch is second in the points standings and has one win at Infineon Raceway. 

His brother Kurt has not won there, but his Penske "Blue Deuce" Dodge is running like a bandit.

The Busch brothers may well be spoilers in the wild and crazy happenings that are part of road-course racing.

Anger management will certainly be an issue as the 43 drivers make wild passes, only to slam on the brakes as they slide into the turns and one another.

The regular drivers on the oval courses all wish they had the amazing coordination of road racing ace Boris Said.

Some may even want to follow the line Said takes around the course.

Though he is a savvy driver on tracks with right hand turns, he is not expected to be the car to beat at the end.

Infineon Raceway is all about getting a rhythm, hitting your marks time after time and consistently running the best possible line around the track.

Races of late have provided consecutive laps of boredom until the action at the end of the races. 

Fans can expect action at every turn during the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

If you were to check out the betting odds for the winner at Sonoma, Gordon would be favored to win.

Just one chaotic melee on track could change everything in the dynamics of the race. It could easily allow an unlikely contender for the win to just slip by and claim the checkered flag.

The upcoming Father's Day race is sure to elevate the level of road rage at a track that forces the drivers to negotiate 1100 turns in one single competition.

For some of the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, their standing in the points could easily take a turn for the worse in the wine country of Sonoma.