Bowyer Dominates Sonoma

By Jason Schultz


Clint Bowyer took the checkers at Sonoma, Sunday afternoon after dominating the race. 


Bowyer ran great all day and held off last year’s Sonoma winner, Kurt Busch and three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart late in the race to claim victory. 


The Toyota/Save Mart 350 set records early in the race, running 82-laps caution-free. 


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, rookie contender Josh Wise ran off track before the hairpin turn and nearly spun around but he managed to save it with no caution called. 


Halfway through the race – still caution-free – the leaders were; Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch. 


On lap 57, Bobby Labonte spun around in turn eleven but again, 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 and ended up finishing eighth. 


After the second round of pit stops, Clint Bowyer was the leader and he never gave up the top spot 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.


With laps winding down, Kurt Busch was right up behind Bowyer chasing after the lead position. Lap after lap Busch was there without making a move to get around Bowyer. Eventually Busch made contact with the tire barriers in turn eleven, damaging his car and taking a hit on his chance of winning. 


With five laps to go the caution flew for Kyle Busch and Paul Menard. The younger 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 issue, the second half had a problem. Another driver got into Earnhardt Jr and spun him out causing Earnhardt Jr to make contact with Almirola, who was trying to avoid the accident. Subsequently, Regan Smith crashed into Earnhardt Jr, causing heavy damage to both cars. The caution never flew with the leaders racing toward the white flag. As Bowyer led, Stewart raced around Kurt Busch. 


Back in the pack, Martin Truex Jr was having a great day until he spun in turn five and lost a bunch of positions. Again, 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 joined the team from Richard Childress Racing this past offseason. This was only the third career win for MWR and was much eagerly celebrated. Bowyer commented on MWR’s success by saying that “MWR is working together.” 


Three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart raced hard to the front to finish in second place.


Kurt Busch was grateful for a great race and said “Glad we brought it home third.” In an unsponsored car, Busch really showed great talent behind the wheel of his No. 51, Phoenix Racing car, as the defending winner of this race in 2011. 


A great performance by Clint Bowyer put him in victory lane today and his performance helped his chase chances a little bit more. 


Next week the NACAR Sprint Cup Series is off to Kentucky Speedway for a Saturday Night showdown.

Point Standings and Race Results via Nascar.com


SPONSOR
STATUS
1
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
48/5
112
Running
2
14
Chevrolet
Office Depot / Mobil 1
42/0
112
Running
3
51
Chevrolet
Phoenix Construction Services
42/1
112
Running
4
55
Toyota
RKMotorsCharl
otte.com
40/0
112
Running
5
48
Chevrolet
Lowe’s
39/0
112
Running
6
24
Chevrolet
Drive to End Hunger
39/1
112
Running
7
16
Ford
3M / US Stationary
37/0
112
Running
8
9
Ford
Stanley
37/1
112
Running
9
22
Dodge
Shell / Pennzoil
35/0
112
Running
10
20
Toyota
The Home Depot
34/0
112
Running
11
31
Chevrolet
Wheaties
33/0
112
Running
12
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
32/0
112
Running
13
17
Ford
Ford EcoBoost
31/0
112
Running
14
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
30/0
112
Running
15
13
Ford
GEICO
29/0
112
Running
16
29
Chevrolet
Rheem
28/0
112
Running
17
18
Toyota
M&M’s
27/0
112
Running
18
39
Chevrolet
Quicken Loans / Childrens Tumor Foundation
26/0
112
Running
19
1
Chevrolet
McDonald’s
25/0
112
Running
20
27
Chevrolet
Menards / Moen
24/0
112
Running
21
99
Ford
Aflac
23/0
112
Running
22
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
23/1
112
Running
23
88
Chevrolet
Diet Mountain Dew / National Guard / 7-Eleven
21/0
112
Running
24
47
Toyota
Clorox
20/0
112
Running
25
195
Ford
Leavine Family Racing
19/0
112
Running
26
38
Ford
1-800LoanMart
18/0
112
Running
27
34
Ford
Green 1 High Performance Green
17/0
112
Running
28
43
Ford
Medallion Financial
16/0
110
In Pit
29
32
Ford
HendrickCars.com
15/0
110
Running
30
26
Ford
MDS Transport
14/0
110
Running
31
83
Toyota
Burger King / Dr Pepper
13/0
110
Running
32
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row / Farm American
12/0
109
Running
33
249
Toyota
America Israel Racing / JPO Absorbents
11/0
107
Running
34
42
Chevrolet
Target
10/0
107
Running
35
11
Toyota
FedEx Ground
9/0
98
Susp.
36
93
Toyota
Burger King / Dr Pepper
8/0
92
Running
37
36
Chevrolet
Tommy Baldwin Racing
7/0
84
Susp.
38
10
Tomy Drissi
Chevrolet
Ice Age Continental Drift
6/0
78
Accident
39
7
Dodge
MAPEI / SaveMart Supermarkets
5/0
73
Steering
40
98
David Mayhew
Ford
Phil Parsons Racing
0
25
Brakes
41
33
Chevrolet
Little Joes A
utos.com
3/0
22
Brakes
42
119
Toyota
Humphrey Smith Racing
2/0
13
Brakes
43
87
Toyota
AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
0
1
Engine


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