CLINT BOWYER/No.15 Toyota brought home the first-place Toyota/Save Mart 350 trophy to Michael Waltrip Racing. Despite a very late race caution bringing the Green-White-Finish end to the race, Bowyer was the jubilant winner. To celebrate his victory he did two doughnuts, one right in front of his crew lined up on the pit wall … and then ran out of fuel. His car had to be pushed into Victory Circle.

And now his car goes to the NASCAR R&D Center in North Carolina.

Bowyer had to be one of the happiest winners I’ve seen lately. “I thought it was the best race I’ve literally seen. Best race in NASCAR history. I promise. That’s exactly how I feel. It’s just unbelievable to be able at this point in my career to get with a new bunch of people. JEFF GORDON has won this race many times, he’s a champion of this sport and I just beat him. I’m telling ya, I passed him. I beat him. You don’t forget stuff like that.” He later tweeted “Still the coolest thing about winning is all the congrats messages from family, friends, peers and fans! That’s what it’s all about.”

Bowyer joked about MWR being a place for refugees. He lost his ride at the end of last season, and crew chief, BRIAN PATTIE was also jobless.

Bowyer’s win wasn’t a walk in the park. He was dogged by KURT BUSCH/No.51 Chevrolet for the last 20 laps. Bowyer said Busch raced him clean. “He felt me and roughed me up and let me know he was there. But he never did anything to jeopardize either one of us. He raced a very smart race, and it was a good weekend.”

This was Bowyer’s sixth Cup victory. He started sixth, and led three times for 71 laps earning him the Bonus Points for the most laps led.

TONY STEWART/No.14 Chevrolet got by Busch the Elder, to finish second, making him happier than he’d been all weekend – he started twenty-fourth. Although he hadn’t considered Bowyer a ‘road course racer’ per se, Stewart said “it was impressive how many laps Bowyer led. It was pretty fun to watch Busch trying to catch Bowyer. Clint did a good job avoiding mistakes.” Stewart’s engine has been tagged for the trip to the NASCAR R&D Center.

Third-placed Busch said he “was respectful of Bowyer” who was headed for his first victory with his new team. He said he was patient, but admitted he made just one mistake, with eight laps to go. He hit the Turn Eleven tire wall – which he said were never bolted before. Busch, who raced a naked car (no sponsors) broke something in his front end, and he couldn’t keep up with Bowyer after that.

Finishing fourth and fifth were Bowyer’s MWR teammate, BRIAN VICKERS/No.55 Toyota, and JIMMIE JOHNSON/No.48 Chevrolet.

While Speedway Motorsports Inc. has a policy of not revealing attendance figures, JOHN CARDINALE, Sonoma VP of Communications said about Sunday – “We are happy.” NASCAR estimated 91,000 in the Unofficial Race Results.

Pole Sitter MARCOS AMBROSE/No.9 Ford started out strong, but faded, to finish eighth.

The two local Northern California drivers, JEFF GORDON/No.24 Chevrolet and A.J. ALLMENDINGER/No.22 Dodge, also ran well. Had not Gordon run out of fuel on track half a lap earlier than predicted, he probably would have continued his battle with Busch to finish higher than sixth. Allmendinger ran as high as seventh and finished ninth.

Native son, JEFF GORDON/No.24 Chevrolet, started on the front row and finished sixth. He had the hot rod all weekend; but lost momentum when he ran out of fuel half a lap earlier than expected. He coasted into the pits, and then made up for last time by going hell-bent for leather, turning the fastest race laps at the time.

Local favorite, A.J. ALLMENDINGER/No.22 Dodge, started seventeenth, ran as high as seventh and finished ninth. Early on in the race, he was hit by Kurt Busch, and would have attempted revenge had their paths again crossed in the 110-lap race.

The mostly boring race was brought to life on Lap 82 with the first caution. The cause – TOMY DRISSI/No.10 Chevrolet spinning hard rear-end into the Turn Seven tire wall necessitating a tow now. Welcome to Sprint Cup, newbie. The Hollywood ad magnate, Drissi didn’t a good introduction – he spun in practice, got a speeding ticket and then wrecked.

This caution broke the Sonoma green-flag run record. The previous NASCAR Cup record at this track was 49 laps, back in 1997.

NASCAR’S commentary on the NASCAR Leaderboard jinxed the caution-free race on Lap 77 by commenting “Let’s see … When WAS the last caution-free race at the Sprint Cup level? Talladega, back in 2002 maybe?”

Further jinxing on Lap 85 when the NASCAR commentary said “Remember … cautions have a way of breeding cautions.” With six laps to go, PAUL MENARD/No.27 Chevrolet was hit and spun, again in Turn Seven and although cars could get by, Menard was stalled on course. Another caution, causing the Green-White-Checker finish that Bowyer did not want. He said “I sucked so much air I stalled my car.”

There were eight lead changes among five drivers – Ambrose, Gordon, Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Bowyer’s other teammate, MARTIN TRUEX, Jr/No.55 Toyota.

Thirty-five drivers finished the race, with 23 on the lead lap. Except for Drissi’s solo accident, there were no crashes and very little mayhem. All the retirements were due to mechanical issues including the Start and Park drivers.

MATT KENSETH/No.17 Ford continues to lead the points despite his thirteenth-placed finish. Starting fourth and finishing seventh, GREG BIFFLE/No.16 Ford jumped ahead of DALE EARNHARDT, Jr/No.88 Chevrolet in the points, for second position. Junior, who had a less than stellar race and was caught out in the restart for the Green-White-Checker, ended up twenty-third, after starting nineteenth.

Despite not being a contender (starting twenty-fifth and finishing nineteenth) NASCAR is taking JAMIE McMURRAY’S No.1 Chevrolet to its R&D Center in Concord NC. Maybe NASCAR saw something on that trick on-car camera positioned on McMurray’s rear drive shaft.

There was media grousing about the poor TNT TV coverage of the race.