First Time Winner At Sonoma for NASCAR

Capping off a triple header weekend, the Monster Energy Cup Series drivers go road racing at Sonoma Raceway for the Safe Mart 350.

InfineonRacewayBy Figure8 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18948840

A couple of weeks ago, Richard Petty Motorsports named Darrell Wallace Jr as the the driver of the number 43 car until Aric Almirola is able to return to racing. But this week, RPM has put road racing expert Billy Johnson in the car for the race at Sonoma.

Matt Kenseth’s team had to change the engine in his number 20 car; as a result, Kenseth will have to start the race at the back of the field. Since Kenseth must start the race in the rear no matter where he qualified, the team has decided not to make a qualifying lap and start the race on “fresh” tires. Drivers must start the race on the same tires that they used in qualifying.

Chase Elliott crashed hard during practice and had to go to a backup car.

After two rounds of qualifying, with a lap of 1:15.177 Kyle Larson won the pole and will bring the field to green.

Kyle_Larson_at_the_Daytona_500By Nascarking – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38678934

The starting lineup for the Save Mart 350:
Kyle Larson
Jamie McMurray
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Busch
AJ Allmendinger
Danica Patrick
Ryan Blaney
Chase Elliott
Chris Buescher
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Daniel Suarez
Kevin Harvick
Clint Bowyer
Denny Hamlin
Paul Menard
Michael McDowell
Kurt Busch
Joey Logano
Austin Dillon
Ryan Newman
Kasey Kahne
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Brad Keselowski
Jimmie Johnson
Trevor Bayne
Billy Johnson
Matt DiBenedetto
David Ragan
Cole Whitt
Erik Jones
Landon Cassill
Alon Day – moved to the back of the field for missing driver introductions
Josh Bilicki
Boris Said
Ty Dilon
Kevin O’Connell
Tomy Regan
Matt Kenseth

Stages one and two of the race will be 25 laps each with stage three lasting 60 laps.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and pulls out in front of the field as the drivers spread out behind him.

Lap three Kyle Larson has a lead of nearly a second on Jamie McMurray. Daniel Suarez brings his car down pit road with flat spotted tires.

Lap five Kyle Larson has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Jamie McMurray. All 38 ars are on the lead lap.

Kyle Busch brought his car down pit road with a tire issue.

Lap seven Matt Kenseth has moved up to 23rd place after starting at the back of the field.

Lap eight Kyle Larson has pulled out to a lead of nearly a second and a half over Jamie McMurray.

Lap nine, after passing Jamie McMurray for second place, Martin Truex Jr has closed to less than half a second behind leader Kyle Larson.

Martin Truex Jr passes Kyle Larson to take over the lead of the race on lap nine.

Lap 12 Martin Truex Jr has a lead of over two and a half seconds on second place driver AJ Allmendinger.

Dale Earnhardt Jr brings out the first caution flag of the race on lap 14 after spinning out. In seventh place he was making a passing attempt on Danica Patrick when he locked the tires and spun out

AJ Allmendinger wins the race off of pit road.

Dale Earnhardt Jr was caught speeding on pit road.

After staying out on the track, Chris Buescher brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 17 and gets a challenge for the lead form Brad Keselowski but Buescher holds on to the lead.

AJ Allmendinger passes Chris Buescher for the lead on lap 18 and pulls out to a lead of over half a second. All 38 cars are still on the lead lap.

Lap 21 AJ Allmendinger has a lead of nearly a second on Kyle Busch.

With three laps remaining in the stage, some drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.

Martin Truex Jr hallenges AJ Allmendinger for the lead and retakes the lead with two laps remaining in the stage.

Lap 23 Martin Truex Jr has a one second lead on AJ Allmendinger. Michael McDowell is penalized when he came down pit road while pit road was closed. Kyle Busch was caught speeding on pit road.

Martin Truex Jr wins stage one. This is Truex’s eleventh stage win of the season.

Martin_Truex_Jr._at_the_Daytona_500By Nascarking – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38678777

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Martin Truex Jr
AJ Allmendinger
Kyle Larson
Ryan Blaney
Denny Hamlin
Loey Logano
Trevor Bayne
Austin Dillon
Kasey Kahne
Clint Bowyer

About half of the drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.

Kyle Larson stalls his car on pit road.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 30 and hold on to the lead of the race.

Along Day spins out. Bringing out the third caution flag of the day Ricky Stenhouse Jr’s car has significant damage to his car after Kyle Larson, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Danica Patrick tangle it up.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr is on the five minute crash clock.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 33 and holds on to the lead despite getting a challenge from Ryan Blaney. Ricky Stenhoue Jr is the only car off the track.

AJ Allmendinger spins out on turn eleven but the track stays green.

Lap 34 Martin Treux Jr has a lead of over a second on Ryan Blaney.

Kyle Larson brings his car down pit road for repairs.

AJ Allmendinger brings his car down pit road for repairs – tearing off parts.

Lap 36 Marin Truex Jr’s lead is now over two seconds on Denny Hamlin.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr is out of the race.

The caution flag comes out on lap 39 for debris on the track.

Some drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.

Denny Hamlin wins the race off of pit road.

Jimmy Johnson brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 40 holds on to the lead of the race.

Lap 41 Jimmie Johnson has a lead of nearly two and a half seconds on Kevin Harvick.

After starting at the back of the field, Matt Kenseth has moved into third place.

Daniel Suarez spins out but the track stays green with just five laps remaining in the stage.

With only three laps remaining in the stage, some drivers come down pit road for service before it closes to end stage two.

Clint Bowyer is caught speeding on pit road.

For the second stop in a row, Martin Truex Jr’s team has had issues on pit road.

As stage two comes to an end, Jimmie Johnson has a lead of over five seconds on Brad Keselowski.

Jimmie Johnson wins stage two.

Jimmie_Johnson_at_the_Daytona_500By Nascarking – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38677110

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Jimmie Johnson
brad Keselwoski
Matt Kenseth
Denny Hanlin
Joey Logano
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Ryan Bolaney
Austin Dillon
Chase Elliott
Ryan Newman

Jimmie Johnson wins the race off of pit road.

Cole Whitt was charges with an uncontrolled tire on pit road.

Denny Hamin and Dale Earnhardt Jr bring the field down for the green start of stage three on lap 54 with Denny Hamlin taking the lead of the race.

Kyle and Kyle – Larson and Busch – make contact but the track stays green.

Lap 55 all 37 cars on the track are on the lead lap.

Lap 58 Denny Hamlin has a half second lead on Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earlier this season Dale Earnhardt Jr announced his retirement as a driver. This week he has modified that statement to say that he is retiring as a full time driver and may run a few one off races. He will also drive a few races in the Xfinity Series next year.

Kyle Busch has passed Dale Earnhardt for second. Denny Hamlin has a lead of less than half a second on Busch with 49 laps to go in the race.

Kyle Busch passes Denny Hamlin for the lead on lap 62. Kevin Harvick is now in second place.

Lap 64 Kevin Harvick passes Kyle Busch for the lead.

Lap 66 Kevin Harvick has just a tenth of a second leadon Martin Truex Jr.

Martin Truex Jr passes Kevin Harvick for the lead of the race.

Lap 67 Martin Truex Jr has pulled out to a lead of over half a second.

Lap 68 Martin Truex Jr has pulled to a lead of nearly a second on Kevin Harvick.

Martin Treux Jr now has a lead of over a second with 41 laps remaining in the race.

Drivers are making green flag pit stops.

On lap 70 Alon Day is the only driver on the track one lap down.

Martin Truex Jr comes down pit road; along with Kevin Harvick, giving the lead to Jamie McMurray.

Lap 71 Jamie McMurray comes down pit road giving the lead to Brad Keselowski.

AJ Allmendinger is reporting possible battery issues.

Martin Truex Jr is reporting engine issues – possibly blowing up.

Lap 74 Brad Keselowski has a lead of nearly two and a half seconds on Joey Logano.

Martin Truex Jr’s apparent engine issues have apparently fixed itself and he is running as good as the rest of the field.

Lap 75 Brad Keselowski has a lead of over five seconds on Joey Logano. Third place driver Chase Elliott is over eleven seconds behind.

Lap 79 Brad Keselowski’s lead is up to nearly seven seconds on Joey Logano.

Lap 80 Brad Keselowski’s lead is now over eleven seconds on Kevin Harvick. Joey Logano was caught speeding on pit road.

Lap 82 Brad Keselowski’s lead is down to just over nine seconds on Kevin Harvick.

Lap 83 Brad Keselowski’s lead is down to just over seven seconds on Kevin Harvick.

Martin Truex Jr is still reporting some engine issues; saying the he doesn’t have the power he had before.

Lap 86 Brad Keselowski’s lead is down to just under two and a half seconds.

Martin Truex Jr brought his car down pit road smoking.

Lap 87 Brad Keselowski’s lead is down to just over a second on Kevin Harvick

Lap 88 Kevin Harvick passes Brad Keselowski for the lead of the race. There are 31 cars on the lead lap. Martin Truex Jr is out of the race after leading 25 laps.

Lap 90 Kevin Harvick has a two second lead on Brad Keselowski.

Lap 91 Kevin Harvick has pulled out to a four second lead on Brad Keselwoski.

A number of teams are not sure whether they have enough fuel to make it to the end of the race.

Lap 93 Kevin Harvick has a seven second lead on Denny Hamlin. Clint Bowyer is over 12 seconds behind.

Lap 95 Kevin Harvick has a seven and a half second lead on Denny Hamlin.

Lap 97 Boris Said gets off the track but the track stays green. Kevin Harvick’s lead is down to under seven seconds on Denny Hanlin.

Matt Kenseth Billy Johnson spin out but keeps going, the track stays green.

Lap 99 Kevin Harvick has a seven second lead on Denny Hamlin.

Lap 101 Kevin Harvick has a lead of over eight seconds on Denny Hamlin.

Lap 102 Kevin Harvick has a nine second lead on Denny Hamlin.

Lap 103 Kevin Harvick is over seven seconds ahead of Denny Hamlin. Harvick is in fuel conservation mode.

Austin Dillon spins out but gets going again and the track stays green.

Five to go and Kevin Harvick has an eight second lead on Clint Bowyer.

Four to go Kevin Harvick passes pole sitter Kyle Larson in 25th to put him a lap down. Harvick has an eight and a half second lead on Clint Bowyer still in fuel conservation mode.

Two to go Kevin Harvick has an eight and a half second lead on Clint Bowyer.

Kevin Harvick takes the white flag with a lead of over nine seconds on Cclint Bowyer; the issue is does he have enough fuel for the final two miles.

Big crash on the front stretch but no caution. The caution flag comes out at the end. Kasey Kahne hits the fens and moves the wall.

Kevin Harvick wins the the race. This is Harvick’s first Monster Energy Cup win this season. He had plenty of fuel to do a burnout.

Kevin_Harvick_at_the_Daytona_500By Nascarking – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38581963

The unofficial results of the Save Mart 350:
Kevin Harvick
Clint Bowyer
Brad Keselowski
Denny Hamlin
Kyle Busch
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Kurt Busch
Chase Elliott
Ryan Blaney
Jamie McMurray
Paul Menard
Joey Logano
Jimmie Johnson
Michael McDowell
Daniel Suarez
Ryan Newman
Danica Patrick
Austin Dillon
Chris Buescher
Matt Kenseth
Cole Whitt
Billy Johnson
Matt DiBenedetto
Kasey Kahne
Erik Jones
Kyle Larson
Trevor Bayne
Ty Dillon
Boris Said
Landon Cassill
David Ragan
Alon Day
Kevin O’Connell
Tommy Regan
AJ Allmendinger
Josh Bilicki
Martin Truex Jr
Ricky Stenhouse Jr


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