Racingone Rewind: Sonoma

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A look back at Jeff Gordon's 74th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win in Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway including news, notes and observations by RacingOne's own Pete Pistone and Jeff Wackerlin.

RacingOneCast
Click Here to view RacingOne's audio/slideshow (Window's Media) recap of today's Dodge/Save Mart 350 brought to you by racetickets.com.

Inside Line
Jeff Gordon scored his ninth career road course victory and 74th career NEXTEL Cup Series win in Sunday's Dodge/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway.

Keys to Victory Lane
Gordon passed Terry Labonte for the top spot on lap 88 and pulled away for this fifth career win at Infineon Raceway.

Zero to Hero
Terry Labonte started 37th, but the former champion and established road racing ace guided the Hall of Fame Racing Chevrolet to a third-place finish, the best run of the year for the start-up team.

Hero to Zero
Robby Gordon started 14th and quickly was up in front challenging for the lead until a run in with Boris Said, and a cut tire on lap 74 took him out of the race. He finished 40th.

Notables
  • Carl Edwards started 20th and despite competing in Milwaukee Saturday night in the Busch race and enduring a cross-country flight back to Sonoma, finished sixth.
  • Elliott Sadler came from the 24th starting spot to post an eighth-place finish after using pit strategy.
  • Jimmie Johnson bounced back from last year's 36th place finish at Infineon to post a 10th.
  • Boris Said finished ninth in his first race with his new No Fear Racing Team.
  • Kyle Busch hit the wall near the start-finish line, but hung on to finish 11th.

    Rookie of the Race
    Denny Hamlin started 40th and came home 12th also on the hels of his runner-up finish Saturday night in the Busch race at The Milwaukee Mile.

    What's the Points?
    Johnson's lead over Matt kenseth grew to 101 with Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounding out the top five.

    Where Are They Now?
    Where last year "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup competitors currently are in the standings: Jimmie Johnson (first), Matt Kenseth (second), Mark Martin (fourth), Tony Stewart (seventh), Greg Biffle (ninth), Carl Edwards (13th), Kurt Busch (14th), Ryan Newman (17th) and Jeremy Mayfield (31st).

    Pit Stops
  • Jeff Gordon captured his 74th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win in his 453rd start and fifth at Infineon Raceway. The win was also his 10th top 10 in 14 starts at the 1.99-mile track. Detailed Active Driver Wins
  • Gordon won the 144th race for car owner Rick Hendrick. Detailed Active Car Owner Wins
  • Gordon became the second driver to win at Infineon from the 11th starting position. Rusty Wallace was the last when he did it in 1990. Gordon also became the 33rd driver overall to win a race from 11th. Starting Position Facts
  • Gordon led the most laps after holding the No. 24 out front two times for 44 laps. Lap Summary
  • Gordon added to Chevrolet's lead in victories in 2006 by given them their eighth win. It was also the 581st overall win for Chevy. All-Time Manufacturer Wins
  • Ryan Newman's second-place finish was his second top five and fourth top 10 at Infineon.
  • Terry Labonte captured his 27th top-10 finish in 57 road course races with his third-place finish.
  • Greg Biffle's fourth-place finish was his first top 10 at Infineon in four races.
  • Polesitter Kurt Busch led 29 of his 60 career laps en route to a fifth-place finish, his third top five at Infineon.
  • Carl Edwards bested his first Infineon finish by 32 positions, finishing sixth.
  • Jeff Burton (seventh) scored his fourth top 10 in 13 races at Infineon.
  • Elliott Sadler's eighth-place finish was his third consecutive top 10 at Infineon.
  • Boris Said was tops among the road course "ringers" in ninth.
  • Jimmie Johnson (10th) captured his second top 10 at Infineon in five starts.
  • The 110-lap race saw nine lead changes among eight drivers and an average speed of 73.953 mph.
  • Seven caution flags were thrown for 12 laps.
  • The Dodge/Save Mart 350 lasted 2 hours, 57 minutes, 36 seconds.

    Lug Nuts
  • After long weekends in the media center or on the RacingOne editors' desk, we can sure have sympathy for Ryan Newman's left butt cheek cramp. We feel for you brother.
  • We took Terry Labonte to task a few weeks ago for being a mere shadow of his former self, but "Iceman" shut us up on Sunday. Kudos for a great run.
  • Tony Stewart should have had a snowplow on the front of his car for the way he was running over everyone in sight Sunday.
  • The road course "ringers" all got their bell rung on Sunday with only Boris Said cracking the top 20.
  • Will Jeff Gordon sign a prenuptial agreement this time?
  • Ryan Newman keeps looking strong on the road courses. He finishes second after winning the Busch race last year at Watkins Glen.
  • Seemed like the NASCAR officials may have brought in a little of Napa Valley's liquid refreshment to the tower Sunday judging by some of the scoring decisions including questionable caution flags and lengthy red flag periods.

    Garage Talk
  • "I had a cramp in my left butt cheek, and it's still there, so I'm trying to get out of here." - Ryan Newman
  • "Gordon was definitely the class of the field today." - Kurt Busch
  • "`I called Steve this morning and told him two things: 'I'm engaged and we're going to win today.' That felt pretty good." - Jeff Gordon

    RacingOne Rating
    On a scale of one ten sparkling Chardonnays, we'll give Sunday's Dodge/SaveMart 350 a 6 and-a-half. Some on-track action mixed into the usual off course excursions with a splash of drama thrown into the mix by Labonte and crew chief Felipe Lopez on the fuel strategy call. One more road course to go this year, thankfully, but now we shift our attention to Daytona for the annual mid-summer Pepsi 400 on Saturday night, where hopefully Mother Nature won't intervene.
    
            
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