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Supercars Stars Will Brown and Cam Waters on Opposite Ends of Speed Charts in Sonoma Practice

Will Brown Cam Waters NASCAR Cup Series debut practice Sonoma Raceway 2024 Toyota / Save Mart 350

Photo Credit: Brian Smith,

Obviously, there’s a long way to go before the checkered flag flies in the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway, but after Friday’s NASCAR Cup Series practice session at the 1.99-mile road course in Sonoma, California the two Australia Supercars stars, who will be making their series debut, saw completely different results on track.


Will Brown, who is driving the No. 33 “Open” entry for Richard Childress Racing this weekend, was on the good side of the scoring pylon as he turned the third-fastest lap of the practice session, behind only session-leader Ryan Blaney and Ty Gibbs.

Brown’s fast-lap was a 73.389 second circuit around the 12-turn course, which was 0.187 seconds off the fast pace set by Blaney. Brown expected good things this weekend, but seemed somewhat surprised by his third-place finish in his opening practice session in his NASCAR Cup Series career.

“Yeah, I’m not sure,” Brown said when asked how he was so good out of the box in a Cup car. “The simulators worked great for me at the GM Tech Center, but the guys back home in Australia race hard, and it’s fairly similar cars. I felt pretty good coming into the weekend.”

The 26-year-old Brown has a really good resource at his disposal in Shane van Gisbergen, who was ineligible to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series race this weekend due to being the Chevrolet wheel-force test driver at the Goodyear Tire Test following the Sonoma Raceway repave.

SVG, a legend in the Supercars ranks, scored a win in his NASCAR Cup Series debut a season ago in the Chicago Street Race. This weekend, in addition to running the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Sonoma as a driver, he’ll serve as a spotter for Brown.

“I’ve watched a lot of what SVG is doing, but I’ve worked with him a lot,” Brown said. “It’s great to have him as a spotter this weekend to be working with him.”

While it’s a great start, Brown and Richard Childress Racing know very well not to feel like they’ve accomplished their ultimate goal. Last year, the team fielded a No. 33 entry for fellow Supercars star Brodie Kostecki at the Indianapolis Road Course. Kostecki impressed by turning the 11th-fastest qualifying lap for that race, but then crashed his car in the session and had to start at the rear of the field.

The end result was a 22nd-place finish. Understandably, Brown isn’t taking a victory lap after posting a fast lap in practice.

“There’s a long way to go yet, it was a good start,” Brown explained. “I still have a lot of learning to do in the car, and how to race it. But we’ll see where we end up tomorrow.”

While Brown had reason to smile after the practice session, Friday had to be a frustrating day for his Supercars counterpart Cam Waters.

Waters, who dipped his toe into the NASCAR world earlier this season by competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races at Martinsville and Kansas, was only able to muster the 35th-fastest lap in Friday’s practice session.

Driving the No. 60 RFK Racing “Open” entry, Waters’ best lap was 1.627 seconds off of Blaney’s session-leading lap time. It was rough on the scoring sheet, and it was rough on the track for Waters as well, as he narrowly avoided complete chaos.

During the session, Waters lost control heading down into Turn 1 of the course, and he barely avoided clipping the concrete barriers. Fortunately, he was able to spin into the grass without any true incident.

It was a close call, but fortunately, Waters didn’t bin the car in his first NASCAR Cup Series practice session.

And much like Brown, it’s still really early in the weekend for anyone to be labeling the weekend a success or failure for Waters, but after Friday, Waters definitely has an uphill journey ahead of him as he ranked behind his RFK Racing teammates Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski in practice speeds.

Saturday’s qualifying session will give us a much better idea of how much Waters is able to apply what he learned from Friday’s practice session, but unfortunately for the 29-year-old, there isn’t much time to hone your craft in the NASCAR Cup Series.

This weekend, there was the lone 50-minute practice session, qualifying, and then you’re straight into the race.

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