Clint Bowyer took the checkers at Sonoma Sunday Afternoon after dominating the race. Bowyer ran great all day and held off Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart late in the race to claim victory. This race set records when we went 82 laps caution free. The race ended with only two cautions, a track record.
On lap 12, Jeff Gordon took the lead from pole sitter and race favorite Marcos Ambrose. Bowyer took the lead for the first time on lap 25 when he passed Jeff Gordon. The first round of green-flag pit stops began on lap 33. Martin Truex Jr was on a different pit-cycle than everyone else, therefore he took the lead when he didn’t pit during the lap 33 pit-cycle. On lap 42, Josh Wise ran off track before the hairpin turn he nearly spun around but he didn’t and no caution came out. Halfway through the race we were caution free and Bowyer led followed by; Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch.
On lap 57, Bobby Labonte spun around in turn eleven but no caution flag flew. On lap 68, the second round of green-flag pit stops began. Race favorite Marcos Ambrose never returned to the front after so many people thought he would have the dominant car of the day. After this race, Ambrose is still winless at Sonoma. Ambrose ended up finishing eighth. After the second round of pit stops, Clint Bowyer was the leader and he would never give that position up for the rest of the race.
After 82 laps, the first caution flew for Tomy Drissi, in the No.10 car; he spun and crashed while entering the esses portion of the track. While the laps were winding down, Kurt Busch was right up behind Bowyer. Lap after lap Busch was there and he didn’t make a move to get around Bowyer. Eventually Busch made contact with the tire barriers in turn eleven and damaged his car, essentially eliminating his chance of winning. With five laps to go the caution flew for Kyle Busch and Paul Menard. Busch steamed into turn five and made contact with Menard, spinning both cars and bringing out the full course yellow. This set up a green-white-checker finish.
Bowyer led coming to the restart followed by Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. While the first part of the field got up the hill without an issue, the second half had a problem. Another driver got into Earnhardt Jr and spun him out and Earnhardt Jr made contact with Almirola who was trying to avoid the accident. Regan Smith crashed into Earnhardt Jr, causing heavy damage to both cars. The caution never flew for this and the leaders raced towards the white flag. As Bowyer led, Stewart had gotten by Kurt Busch. Back in the pack on the final lap, Martin Truex Jr was having a great day until he spun in turn five and lost a bunch of positions. No caution flew and Bowyer held off a late-charge by Stewart and took the checkers.
This was Bowyer’s first win for Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) since Bowyer came over from Richard Childress Racing this past offseason. This was only the third career win for MWR but it was much celebrated. Bowyer commented on MWR’s success by saying that “MWR is working together.” Kurt Busch was grateful for a great race and said “Glad we brought it home third.” In a unsponsored car, Busch really showed great skills. Busch was the defending winner of this race and for awhile it looked like he was going to win it again.
A great performance by Clint Bowyer put him in victory lane today and Bowyer helped his chase chances a little bit more. Next week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is off to Kentucky Speedway for a Saturday Night showdown.
Results via Nascar.com
|1||–||15||Clint Bowyer||Toyota||5-hour Energy||48/5||112||Running|
|2||–||14||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Office Depot / Mobil 1||42/0||112||Running|
|3||–||51||Kurt Busch||Chevrolet||Phoenix Construction Services||42/1||112||Running|
|6||–||24||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet||Drive to End Hunger||39/1||112||Running|
|7||–||16||Greg Biffle||Ford||3M / US Stationary||37/0||112||Running|
|9||–||22||AJ Allmendinger||Dodge||Shell / Pennzoil||35/0||112||Running|
|10||–||20||Joey Logano||Toyota||The Home Depot||34/0||112||Running|
|12||–||2||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Miller Lite||32/0||112||Running|
|13||–||17||Matt Kenseth||Ford||Ford EcoBoost||31/0||112||Running|
|14||–||5||Kasey Kahne||Chevrolet||Farmers Insurance||30/0||112||Running|
|18||–||39||Ryan Newman||Chevrolet||Quicken Loans / Childrens Tumor Foundation||26/0||112||Running|
|20||–||27||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Menards / Moen||24/0||112||Running|
|22||–||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||NAPA Auto Parts||23/1||112||Running|
|23||–||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||Diet Mountain Dew / National Guard / 7-Eleven||21/0||112||Running|
|25||–||195||Scott Speed||Ford||Leavine Family Racing||19/0||112||Running|
|27||–||34||David Ragan||Ford||Green 1 High Performance Green||17/0||112||Running|
|28||–||43||Aric Almirola||Ford||Medallion Financial||16/0||110||In Pit|
|30||–||26||Josh Wise *||Ford||MDS Transport||14/0||110||Running|
|31||–||83||Landon Cassill||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||13/0||110||Running|
|32||–||78||Regan Smith||Chevrolet||Furniture Row / Farm American||12/0||109||Running|
|33||–||249||J.J. Yeley||Toyota||America Israel Racing / JPO Absorbents||11/0||107||Running|
|35||–||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||FedEx Ground||9/0||98||Susp.|
|36||–||93||Travis Kvapil||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||8/0||92||Running|
|37||–||36||Dave Blaney||Chevrolet||Tommy Baldwin Racing||7/0||84||Susp.|
|38||–||10||Tomy Drissi||Chevrolet||Ice Age Continental Drift||6/0||78||Accident|
|39||–||7||Robby Gordon||Dodge||MAPEI / SaveMart Supermarkets||5/0||73||Steering|
|40||–||98||David Mayhew||Ford||Phil Parsons Racing||0||25||Brakes|
|41||–||33||Stephen Leicht *||Chevrolet||Little Joes A
|42||–||119||Chris Cook||Toyota||Humphrey Smith Racing||2/0||13||Brakes|
|43||–||87||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves||0||1||Engine|