Truex Dominates in Wine Country

Martin Truex Jr. collected his third victory of the season in the Toyota/ Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday. The win was Truex’s third career road course victory and second straight.

 

Kyle Larson brought the field to the green flag for the second consecutive year at Sonoma. Larson quickly began to fight handling issues and outside pole sitter Truex took the lead on lap 3 after passing the 42 in the turn 11 hairpin. Larson’s woes continued as he dropped to the back half of the top 10. Truex had the fastest car in stage 1 but as the laps were winding down Kevin Harvick began pressuring the 78 for the lead. Both drivers elected to pit with 3 laps to go in the stage in an effort to strategize for the win. This move surrendered the lead to AJ Allmendinger who went on to win the stage.

 

Stage 2 began with Truex and Harvick back out-front as the remaining cars pitted under the stage-break caution. After winning the first stage, Allmendinger’s luck quickly turned sour as on lap 9 of the stage he missed a shift and blew his motor which brought out the yellow. Truex hopped out to the lead again on the restart but didn’t get far from Harvick. The 4 passed the 78 with 8 laps to go in the stage. The leaders would once again play the strategy game as they pitted with 3 laps to go in the stage. Denny Hamlin stayed out and assumed the lead and went on to win the stage.

 

The final stage began with Harvick out-front and he seemed to be in control as the laps wound down. The 4 pitted with 38 laps remaining, which was the edge of fuel mileage, but the 78 of Truex opted to play a different strategy and pitted with 30 laps to go (halfway through the stage). Truex excited the pits 7 seconds behind Harvick as the 4 regained the lead. Fresh tires prevailed and it only took Truex 10 laps to run him down and take the lead back. Truex set sail from there. Harvick pitted again with 18 to go in hopes a caution would come out so he would gain the upper hand on Truex. No caution flew and Truex went on to win.

Results for the Toyota/ Save Mart 350:

1. Martin Truex Jr
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Clint Bowyer
4. Chase Elliott
5. Kyle Busch
6. Kurt Busch
7. Erik Jones
8. Aric Almirola
9. Alex Bowman
10. Daniel Suarez
11. Jimmie Johnson
12. Denny Hamlin
13. Chris Buescher
14. Brad Keselowski
15. Kyle Larson
16. Austin Dillon
17. Matt DiBenedetto
18. Joey Logano
19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
20. Kasey Kahne
21. Michael McDowell
22. David Ragan
23. Parker Kliggerman
24. Ryan Newman
25. William Byron
26. Paul Menard
27. Trevor Bayne
28. Justin Marks
29. Bubba Wallace
30. Gray Gaulding
31. Chris Cook
32. Tomy Drissi
33. Ty Dillon
34. Ryan Blaney
35. Cole Whitt
36. Cody Ware
37. Jamie McMurray
38. AJ Allmendinger

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