Martin Truex Jr. scored his third win of the season, and second at Sonoma Raceway, in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350.
Truex led 62 of the 110 laps and was ahead of Kevin Harvick by 10.5 seconds at the checkered flag.
A strategy to stay out rather than pit and fake out those behind him into coming to pit road proved to be the maneuver that helped propel Truex Jr. to Victory Lane by a convincing margin.
“That’s all (crew chief) Cole (Pearn). That’s all him,” Truex Jr. said. “I was just begging, hoping the caution wouldn’t come out.”
Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.
“Oh man we all make mistakes,” Harvick said about his team being faked out. “We all do things split second that might be right after it all happens.” (Read More)
Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, Aric Almirola, Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin completed the first 10 finishers.
AJ Allmendinger and Denny Hamlin won the first two stages. Stage Points
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Chicagoland Speedway for next Sunday’s Overton’s 400.
How Truex Jr. Won: A fake going to pit road on lap 73 proved to be the winning move for Truex Jr. and company. Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer came down pit road and Truex Jr. was able to stay out before coming in for fresh tires seven laps later. That allowed him to slice his way through the field and take the lead eventually pulling away to a commanding advantage and the checkered flag.
Who Had a Good Day: Despite his disappointment, Harvick scored his eighth top-two finish in 16 races in 2018…Bowyer notched his eighth top-five finish at Sonoma, the most of all active drivers…Elliott finished in the top five in both stages and fourth in the race for his second consecutive top 10 at Sonoma (Read More)…Kurt Busch notched his sixth top-10 finish of 2018 in the last seven races…Jones has finished in the top-10 in the the last two road course races.
Who Had a Bad Day: AJ Allmendinger is a perennial favorite when the two Cup road courses roll around on the schedule but his recent luck has taken him from contention and Sunday was no different when the JTG Daugherty Racing driver missed a shift and blew his engine (Read More)…Jamie McMurray was another driver with high hopes on a road course but after qualifying well he was eliminated from the race in the second stage by an oil pump issue…Ryan Blaney lost his power steering and finished 34th.
What Else Happened: In reality Sunday’s race was one of the most uneventful in recent Sonoma history. Strategy was in vogue replacing some of the side-by-side battling for position and physical racing that has been the Sonoma trademark in the last several seasons.
Quotable: “I let everybody down. It’s all on me,” Allmendinger after his blown engine.
Notables: Stewart-Haas Racing had all four cars finish in the top 10 for the second time in their history, both in 2018…Almirola scored his first career top-10 road course finish…Bowman had his fifth top-10 of the season and first on a road course.