Martin Truex dominated the second half of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway on Sunday. He took the lead for good by staying out during a caution on lap 82 of the 110-lap race and drove away from the field. The victory snapped a 218-race winless streak, with Truex’s last win coming at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in 2007. But it was the second-straight Sonoma win for Michael Waltrip Racing, as Clint Bowyer claimed his first road course win there last year.
“We learned a lot from Clint here last year,” Truex said. “He’s an awesome freaking teammate.”
Bowyer headed to victory lane after his own fifth-place finish to congratulate his teammate on the win.
Pit strategy early in the race put Jeff Gordon toward the back of the race field, but he was able to drive back up toward the front to take runner-up honors.
“We had a very fast race car,” Gordon said.
Carl Edwards finished third.
“I didn’t think our car was that good, so I’m happy with it,” Edwards said.
Marcos Ambrose took the lead from pole sitter Jamie McMurray on lap one and led the way until he was passed by Kurt Busch a few laps after a restart that followed a lap six caution. Busch looked to have the fastest car on the track for a time, but his race looked to go south when he was caught speeding two different times on pit road. Busch hit pit road soon after the race went back to green following a caution on lap 32. He sped down pit road on his way to have his car serviced and then was caught speeding again when he had to go back down pit road to serve the penalty. Busch was able to recover, though, and wound up finishing fourth.
Truex took the race lead for the first time on lap 41 and pulled away, building up a cushion of 10 seconds by lap 60. But he gave up that large lead to pit road.
Truex was back near the front shortly after the fourth caution of the race came out on lap 63 when he restarted second to Jamie McMurray, but he lost a few positions because of pit strategy when he opted to head back down pit road when the yellow flag waved again just a few laps later.
Jeff Gordon moved into the lead on lap 78 and led the way until Truex got back up front following the lap 82 caution. Gordon headed down pit road under the yellow, but was able to race his way past drivers like Matt Kenseth, Juan Montoya and Greg Biffle, who, like Truex, stayed out.
Montoya looked to be on his way to a top-five finish but ran out of gas just before the leader took the while flag. As a result, Montoya wound up 33rd.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR