Martin Truex Jr. Holds Off Kyle Busch to Win Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. ⁠— In a technical caution-free race, Martin Truex Jr holds off Kyle Busch in the closing laps to win the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series.

“What a season we’ve turned this into,” Truex said in Victory Lane after tying Kyle Busch with the most victories in the current season. “This group, they’re unbelievable. Hopefully we can keep this going.”

Truex claimed his third career victory at the California road course, second in a row and the first with the returning Carrousel. The race was caution-free besides the stage ending yellow flags.

“With the Carousel, the big left-hand corner, it really changed things up,” he explained not knowing exactly how the weekend was going to go for the No. 19 Toyota team. “Took a while to figure that out in practice. But luckily, we were able to just make the right tweaks. I had confidence that when the track got hot and slick on the long runs, we had what we needed.

“Just a matter if we had enough speed to get there, and we did today.”

Truex didn’t place in the top 10 in Stage 1 with the varying pit strategies. Many teams elected to come to pit road before the two-to-go mark, signifying the close of pit road. Roughly the top 15 positions could pit without going a lap down, and when some leaders came down pit road, that gave more openings deeper in the pack to come down pit road. He placed seventh in Stage 2.

Kyle Busch closes the gap on teammate and leader Truex after front end damage from contact with Ryan Blaney. Photo courtesy of Patrick Sue-Chan for Speedway Media.
Kyle Busch closes the gap on teammate and leader Truex after front end damage from contact with Ryan Blaney. Photo courtesy of Patrick Sue-Chan for Speedway Media.

With 20 laps to go, Kyle Busch had a different strategy in mind by manipulating the cycle to have fresher tires on the final run. At times, he ran a full second faster than his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, but fell 1.861 seconds short of the win.

“Yeah, any time I had to lean on the left rear, I just didn’t have the drive that I needed,” Busch said. “Actually tried to hold on to it, trying to save it. I knew that was going to be our problem — that had been our problem all day long. You get closer, you’re like, ‘OK, I can get him, I better go, pounce on him fast, so then he doesn’t have the time to pick up the pace.’

“But it didn’t work. He was obviously saving a lot. I knew he was going to be saving a lot, have enough to be able to most likely hold us off. I was right. I still tried everything I could to get there and ran real hard. Sucks to finish second to a teammate, but it’s good for the company. Overall Martin is really, really good here. I’m just pumped that I actually ran good here.”

Ryan Blaney was the top finishing Ford in third, and Matt DiBenedetto fights for his best career finish of fourth. Stage 2 winner, Denny Hamlin, rounds out the top five. Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Erik Jones, Aric Almirola and pole sitter Kyle Larson finish in the top 10. Larson now holds three consecutive poles as the home track native, and claimed his best career finish.

Other notables across the field include Daniel Hemric, Austin Dillon and Ryan Preece who all ran toward the front of the NASCAR K&N Pro West Series race. They finished 15th, 24th and 29th respectively. William Byron led all of Stage 1, including winning the first stage, but finished in the 19th position. Saturday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series winner Ross Chastaine made the overnight flight to start today’s race and finished 33rd. Chase Elliott was battling for a top five position, but a loss of oil pressure eliminated him after 60 laps, finishing 37th. Cody Ware pulled into the garage during the final stage, where he was treated in the infield care center for carbon monoxide poisoning. He was released after treatments.

The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series will compete next at Chicagoland Speedway on June 30.

FinSt#DriverSponsor / OwnerCarLapsStatus
1819Martin Truex, Jr.Bass Pro Shops (Joe Gibbs)Toyota90running
2718Kyle BuschM&M’s Hazelnut (Joe Gibbs)Toyota90running
3912Ryan BlaneyPPG (Roger Penske)Ford90running
41995Matt DiBenedettoProcore Thanks DW Throwback (Leavine Family Racing)Toyota90running
5611Denny HamlinFedEx Ground   (Joe Gibbs)Toyota90running
6234Kevin HarvickMobil 1 (Stewart Haas Racing)Ford90running
7216Ryan NewmanWyndham Rewards (Jack Roush)Ford90running
83220Erik JonesCraftsman (Joe Gibbs)Toyota90running
91510Aric AlmirolaSmithfield (Stewart Haas Racing)Ford90running
10142Kyle LarsonCredit One Bank (Chip Ganassi)Chevrolet90running
111414Clint BowyerRush Truck Centers (Stewart Haas Racing)Ford90running
121148Jimmie JohnsonAlly (Rick Hendrick)Chevrolet90running
13161Kurt BuschMonster Energy (Chip Ganassi)Chevrolet90running
141288Alex BowmanAxalta (Rick Hendrick)Chevrolet90running
15258Daniel HemricPoppy Bank (Richard Childress)Chevrolet90running
161037Chris BuescherHellmann’s (JTG-Daugherty Racing)Chevrolet90running
17541Daniel SuarezRuckus (Stewart Haas Racing)Ford90running
18222Brad KeselowskiAmerica’s Tire (Roger Penske)Ford90running
19224William ByronHertz (Rick Hendrick)Chevrolet90running
201838David Ragan#ThanksDW (Bob Jenkins)Ford90running
211717Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.Roush Performance / Thanks DW (Jack Roush)Ford90running
222421Paul MenardMenards / Richmond (Wood Brothers)Ford90running
23322Joey LoganoShell / Pennzoil (Roger Penske)Ford90running
24263Austin DillonDow Coatings (Richard Childress)Chevrolet90running
251334Michael McDowellLove’s Travel Stops (Bob Jenkins)Ford89running
263043Bubba WallaceWorld Wide Technology (Richard Petty Motorsports)Chevrolet89running
273113Ty DillonGEICO Military (Germain Racing)Chevrolet89running
282836Matt TifftAcquire Investments (Bob Jenkins)Ford89running
292047Ryan PreeceKroger (JTG-Daugherty Racing)Chevrolet89running
302996Parker KligermanTRD 40th Anniversary (Gaunt Brothers)Toyota89running
313500Landon CassillShare (StarCom Racing)Chevrolet89running
322732Corey LaJoieGMN (Archie St. Hilaire)Ford89running
333715Ross ChastainLow-T Centers (Jay Robinson)Chevrolet89running
343377Justin HaleyFormula One Imports (Spire Motorsports)Chevrolet88running
353827Reed (Jay Robinson)Chevrolet88running
363452Cody WareSBC Contractors (Rick Ware)Chevrolet64fatigue
3749Chase ElliottNAPA Auto Parts (Rick Hendrick)Chevrolet60engine
383651J.J. YeleyJacob Companies (Rick Ware)Ford53fuel pump

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

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