MARTIN TRUEX Jr/No.56 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota won the 25th Annual Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup race. He is the ninth different winner in the past nine years. This victory ends a really long dry spell, if stats are to be believed. His last win was June 2007 at Dover.
Truex led three times for 51 laps, the most of any of the eight leaders. By the checkered flag, his lead stretched to 8.133 seconds ahead of runner-up JEFF GORDON/No.24 Hendrick Motorsport Chevrolet. Five time Sonoma winner, Gordon inherited second place when JUAN PABLO MONTOYA/No.42 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet ran out of fuel going up the Turn One hill on the last lap. JPM fell to P34, the last car on the lead lap.
Truex’s victory qualifies him for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Third through fifth were CARL EDWARDS/No.99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, KURT BUSCH/No.78 Furniture Racing Chevrolet and last year’s winner, CLINT BOWYER/No.15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.
Gordon, grinning from ear to ear, said “We planned on a three-stop strategy and that’s what we did.”
Edwards said it was a dynamic race and the tires were good.
Kurt Busch joked that he was fast in Pit Road, referencing all his speeding tickets.
Other race leaders were MARCOS AMBROSE/No.9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford-18 laps; KURT BUSCH/No.78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet-15 laps;JOEY LOGANO/No.22 Penske Racing Ford-10 laps; BRAD KESELOWSKI/No.2 Penske Racing Ford-7 laps; JEFF GORDON/No.24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet-4 laps; BRIAN VICKERS/No.55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota-3 laps; Pole sitter JAMIE McMURRAY/No.1 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet-twice for two laps.
That Vickers led three laps and ran a solid second for awhile is notable as he started from the back of the pack due to driver change. JASON BOWLES practiced and qualified the car while Vickers was off racing NNS at Road America.
The race was punctuated by seven Cautions for 18 laps, with one of the cautions for weather – sprinkle. There was a lot of (unintentional) dirt track racing.
More to follow