SONOMA, Calif. — In a technical caution-free race, Martin Truex Jr holds off Kyle Busch in the closing laps to win the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series.
“What a season we’ve turned this into,” Truex said in Victory Lane after tying Kyle Busch with the most victories in the current season. “This group, they’re unbelievable. Hopefully we can keep this going.”
Truex claimed his third career victory at the California road course, second in a row and the first with the returning Carrousel. The race was caution-free besides the stage ending yellow flags.
“With the Carousel, the big left-hand corner, it really changed things up,” he explained not knowing exactly how the weekend was going to go for the No. 19 Toyota team. “Took a while to figure that out in practice. But luckily, we were able to just make the right tweaks. I had confidence that when the track got hot and slick on the long runs, we had what we needed.
“Just a matter if we had enough speed to get there, and we did today.”
Truex didn’t place in the top 10 in Stage 1 with the varying pit strategies. Many teams elected to come to pit road before the two-to-go mark, signifying the close of pit road. Roughly the top 15 positions could pit without going a lap down, and when some leaders came down pit road, that gave more openings deeper in the pack to come down pit road. He placed seventh in Stage 2.
With 20 laps to go, Kyle Busch had a different strategy in mind by manipulating the cycle to have fresher tires on the final run. At times, he ran a full second faster than his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, but fell 1.861 seconds short of the win.
“Yeah, any time I had to lean on the left rear, I just didn’t have the drive that I needed,” Busch said. “Actually tried to hold on to it, trying to save it. I knew that was going to be our problem — that had been our problem all day long. You get closer, you’re like, ‘OK, I can get him, I better go, pounce on him fast, so then he doesn’t have the time to pick up the pace.’
“But it didn’t work. He was obviously saving a lot. I knew he was going to be saving a lot, have enough to be able to most likely hold us off. I was right. I still tried everything I could to get there and ran real hard. Sucks to finish second to a teammate, but it’s good for the company. Overall Martin is really, really good here. I’m just pumped that I actually ran good here.”
Ryan Blaney was the top finishing Ford in third, and Matt DiBenedetto fights for his best career finish of fourth. Stage 2 winner, Denny Hamlin, rounds out the top five. Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Erik Jones, Aric Almirola and pole sitter Kyle Larson finish in the top 10. Larson now holds three consecutive poles as the home track native, and claimed his best career finish.
Other notables across the field include Daniel Hemric, Austin Dillon and Ryan Preece who all ran toward the front of the NASCAR K&N Pro West Series race. They finished 15th, 24th and 29th respectively. William Byron led all of Stage 1, including winning the first stage, but finished in the 19th position. Saturday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series winner Ross Chastaine made the overnight flight to start today’s race and finished 33rd. Chase Elliott was battling for a top five position, but a loss of oil pressure eliminated him after 60 laps, finishing 37th. Cody Ware pulled into the garage during the final stage, where he was treated in the infield care center for carbon monoxide poisoning. He was released after treatments.
The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series will compete next at Chicagoland Speedway on June 30.
|Fin||St||#||Driver||Sponsor / Owner||Car||Laps||Status|
|1||8||19||Martin Truex, Jr.||Bass Pro Shops (Joe Gibbs)||Toyota||90||running|
|2||7||18||Kyle Busch||M&M’s Hazelnut (Joe Gibbs)||Toyota||90||running|
|3||9||12||Ryan Blaney||PPG (Roger Penske)||Ford||90||running|
|4||19||95||Matt DiBenedetto||Procore Thanks DW Throwback (Leavine Family Racing)||Toyota||90||running|
|5||6||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Ground (Joe Gibbs)||Toyota||90||running|
|6||23||4||Kevin Harvick||Mobil 1 (Stewart Haas Racing)||Ford||90||running|
|7||21||6||Ryan Newman||Wyndham Rewards (Jack Roush)||Ford||90||running|
|8||32||20||Erik Jones||Craftsman (Joe Gibbs)||Toyota||90||running|
|9||15||10||Aric Almirola||Smithfield (Stewart Haas Racing)||Ford||90||running|
|10||1||42||Kyle Larson||Credit One Bank (Chip Ganassi)||Chevrolet||90||running|
|11||14||14||Clint Bowyer||Rush Truck Centers (Stewart Haas Racing)||Ford||90||running|
|12||11||48||Jimmie Johnson||Ally (Rick Hendrick)||Chevrolet||90||running|
|13||16||1||Kurt Busch||Monster Energy (Chip Ganassi)||Chevrolet||90||running|
|14||12||88||Alex Bowman||Axalta (Rick Hendrick)||Chevrolet||90||running|
|15||25||8||Daniel Hemric||Poppy Bank (Richard Childress)||Chevrolet||90||running|
|16||10||37||Chris Buescher||Hellmann’s (JTG-Daugherty Racing)||Chevrolet||90||running|
|17||5||41||Daniel Suarez||Ruckus (Stewart Haas Racing)||Ford||90||running|
|18||22||2||Brad Keselowski||America’s Tire (Roger Penske)||Ford||90||running|
|19||2||24||William Byron||Hertz (Rick Hendrick)||Chevrolet||90||running|
|20||18||38||David Ragan||#ThanksDW (Bob Jenkins)||Ford||90||running|
|21||17||17||Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.||Roush Performance / Thanks DW (Jack Roush)||Ford||90||running|
|22||24||21||Paul Menard||Menards / Richmond (Wood Brothers)||Ford||90||running|
|23||3||22||Joey Logano||Shell / Pennzoil (Roger Penske)||Ford||90||running|
|24||26||3||Austin Dillon||Dow Coatings (Richard Childress)||Chevrolet||90||running|
|25||13||34||Michael McDowell||Love’s Travel Stops (Bob Jenkins)||Ford||89||running|
|26||30||43||Bubba Wallace||World Wide Technology (Richard Petty Motorsports)||Chevrolet||89||running|
|27||31||13||Ty Dillon||GEICO Military (Germain Racing)||Chevrolet||89||running|
|28||28||36||Matt Tifft||Acquire Investments (Bob Jenkins)||Ford||89||running|
|29||20||47||Ryan Preece||Kroger (JTG-Daugherty Racing)||Chevrolet||89||running|
|30||29||96||Parker Kligerman||TRD 40th Anniversary (Gaunt Brothers)||Toyota||89||running|
|31||35||00||Landon Cassill||Share (StarCom Racing)||Chevrolet||89||running|
|32||27||32||Corey LaJoie||GMN (Archie St. Hilaire)||Ford||89||running|
|33||37||15||Ross Chastain||Low-T Centers (Jay Robinson)||Chevrolet||89||running|
|34||33||77||Justin Haley||Formula One Imports (Spire Motorsports)||Chevrolet||88||running|
|35||38||27||Reed Sorenson||VIPRacingExperience.com (Jay Robinson)||Chevrolet||88||running|
|36||34||52||Cody Ware||SBC Contractors (Rick Ware)||Chevrolet||64||fatigue|
|37||4||9||Chase Elliott||NAPA Auto Parts (Rick Hendrick)||Chevrolet||60||engine|
|38||36||51||J.J. Yeley||Jacob Companies (Rick Ware)||Ford||53||fuel pump|