Erik Jones navigates the Carousel during practice for the Toyota 350 on June 21  (Christopher Chung/The Press Democrat)
Erik Jones navigates the Carousel during practice for the Toyota 350 on June 21 (Christopher Chung/The Press Democrat)|Associated Press

NASCAR Sunday - The Eckel 3 Pick the Toyota 350; Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Danny Hamlin, Tony Stewart

Mark Eckel

New Jersey’s Martin Truex Jr. will attempt to do what only one other driver has ever done Sunday at Sonoma (Cal.if) Raceway in the Toyota 350.

NASCAR heads West Sunday and Truex, who began driving in New Egypt, will look to repeat as the winner of the Toyota 350. The only other driver to ever repeat here is current NASCAR broadcaster Jeff Gordon, who won three straight years from 1998-2000.

It won’t be easy for Truex, who also won here in 2013. He’ll start out of the eight spot on a 12-turn, 2.52 mile track that has been dubbed “The Carousel’’.

Truex shares the favorite role with points leader and wins leader Kyle Busch, at 9-2, but expect some unexpected Sunday afternoon.

Kyle Larson earned the pole position for the race. Although that’s nothing new, he’s had that twice before and his average starting position here is 2.5. What he’s never done is win, or even finish better than 19th.

"I guess the trend with my three poles is winning a pole and then struggling in the race,’’ Larson told “Hopefully, we'll have something different (Sunday) I feel good."

Despite the name of the race, Chevrolets have won this race 11 times, although just once in the past eight years.

Larson’s No. 42 Chevy has been fast all weekend, also topping final practice on Friday. It was enough to convince the experts, or “The Eckel 3’’ to not just include Larson in our consensus picks, but put him at the top.

Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker and Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney both like Larson a lot Sunday. But TR is known for liking whoever is on the pole.

Here’s our picks to win, to finish top three, and top five, and to use in your fantasy leagues:

Kyle Larson (20-1): Larson’s odds dropped from 40-1, but is still a great price with the way he raced in qualifying. Maybe this is finally his year here.

Kyle Busch (9-2): You just don’t leave Busch out of anything this year. And the fact he’s won here in wine country twice makes it even tougher to leave him out.

Joey Logano (12-1): Surprisingly Logano, who will start in the third position, has never won here. His best finish came in 2016 when he finished third behind Tony Stewart and Danny Hamlin.

Martin Truex (9-2): Truex is driving well of late and it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Jersey Boy get the repeat here. The odds tell you he’ll be in the mix.

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