Toyota/ SaveMart 350: Where they finished

June 22, 2014 No Comments
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Sean Gardner/Getty Images


By Mark Schafer

Carl Edwards was able to take home the win in the first of two road course races on the year. Edwards may not be known as a road course ringer, but the win is just one of many top-10s that Edwards has recorded on the twisty turns.

For Edwards it was his second victory of the year, tying him with Earnhardt Jr, Harvick and Logano with two wins so far this year.

Edwards had to survive wearing tires and a very hard charging vetran Jeff Gordon for the race win, as Hendrick Motorsports was trying to go six-for-six in terms of race wins.

Tempers flared as several drivers were spun out, including one wreck that ended one drivers day in a vicious crash that tore almost the entire front end off a car.

Where the 43 drivers finished in the Toyota/ SaveMart 350:

1. Carl Edwards– His 22nd career win came on a daring two pit-stop strategy and a total of 10 tires the entire race. Edwards caught a bit of luck to get up front. Once he was there he had to hold off Marcos Ambrose, Jamie McMurray and a host of other drivers over the last few laps. Edwards win was his first at a road course and he has become the 10th different winners in 10 races at Sonoma.

2. Jeff Gordon — Gordon used three pit stops thoughout the day to climb steadily throughout the field. By the half way point he was solidly within the top-10, and after a round of pit stops late, Gordon was on the verge of a top-5 run. However with a long green flag run at the end, Gordon made his way through the top-5 to second where he stalled out.

3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. — For a number of laps it looked like Junior was going to lap the entire field. Pitting an unprecedented five times, for a road course race, Earnhardt Jr.  was able to fly through the field with fresh tires on his car, passing several cars to get into the top-five. His run ended at third though. For a time Jr. also looked like a wrecking machine, as he was involved in two wrecks that turned out to be worse for the drivers involved.

4. Jamie McMurray — After starting on the pole and leading the first eight laps of the event McMurray was able to have a solid run at Sonoma. Very rarely did McMurray fall out of the top-five. A late charge through the top-10 helped McMurray get back into the top-five where he was able to hold off several challenges.

5. Paul Menard — Menard was silent throughout the day as he methodically made the right passes to get into the top-five. The pit stops worked perfectly for his Richard Childress Racing team, and Menard had the car that was able to put him in position to make the right moves on track. For Menard it was his first top-10 road course finish.

6. Kasey Kahne — Kahne fell deep into the field before halfway when a pit stop and an ill-handaling car put him back in the pack. However the Hendrick powered Chevrolet quickly joined his teammates in the top-10. Once inside the top-10 Kahne was able to stay there, where he made several passes late to secure his top-10 finish.

7. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson controlled much of the middle part of the race. For a time it seemed that Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus had found the right set-up again. However Johnson found himself buried in the top-five on the final restart. Despite challenges to Marcos Ambrose and others, Johnson fell down the top-10. On the day Johnson led once for one lap, but was near the lead almost the entire day.

8. Marcos Ambrose — Ambrose controlled the race for five laps, but it was a challenge for Ambrose to even get those five laps led. Ambrose was mired back in the pack for most of the day. Ambrose was able to work his road course magic and found himself at the top of the pack after a great call by his crew chief. However failing tires slipped Ambrose back in the pack where he hung onto an eighth place finish.

9. Greg Biffle — Starting in 19th spot most of the day for Biffle was spent dodging wrecks and spins around him. He was able to do that and found himself in the top ten. Earlier in the race, Biffle had worked his way up to third, but made a pit stop. After spending most of the day around the 15th spot, Biffle broke through to secure a top-10 finish.

10. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer found himself in a very scary situation when he was facing the wrong way at one of the narrowest parts of the track early on. Bowyer was spun out with a little help from McMurray and a lot of help from a flat tire. Bowyer’s team made the repairs and from that point on Bowyer used the fresh tires to pass cars where he could and work his way back into the top-10. Not too bad of a finish for a driver that was facing traffic at one point.

11. Ryan Newman — Most of the day Newman was found back in traffic holding up near the bottom of the top-20. However a final pit stop gave life to Newman’s car. After that pit stop Newman glided his way through the top-20 and knocking on the door of a top-10. However the tenth spot was just out of reach for Newman.

12. Kurt Busch — Bush spent a majority of the race running in the top-10. He was able to stay on the same pit strategy as the leaders. However, unlike much of the leaders the tires that Busch drove to on the finish weren’t able to keep any traction in them at the end and Busch fell out of the top-10 for the race finish.

13. Casey Mears — Mears moved up and down in track position for most of the day. The first third of the race Mears was solidly in the top-10. Then the second third of the race came, and while running in the top-10, Mears had a hole punched in the nose of his car after contact. With the hole effecting his down force, Mears fell back in the pack. The last third of the race though Mears was able to come back up through the field and came home with his 13th place result.

14. Brian Vickers — Vickers was involved in some light contact a little after the halfway point of the race. The contact slowed down his run for a bit. On pit road is where Vickers was really able to make a comeback and gained positions on the track. It was a long day for the Michael Waltrip crew, but with hard driving and pit strategy Vickers was able to salvage a top-15 finish.

15. Martin Truex Jr. — Last years winner was able to sniff the lead a few times during Sunday’s race, but in the end he wasn’t able to have the same amount of success that he had one year ago. Tire issues slowed Truex Jr.’s day throughout the course of the race and Truex’s gains would be lost with long green flag runs.

16. Joey Logano — After running in the top-10 and making gains on the track, Logano’s day went up in a cloud of tire smoke and dirt. Coming up into turn three, Logano got sideways and spun late in the race. Logano was able to recover and get back into the top 20 to finish the race.

17. Austin Dillon — The best finishing rookie in Sunday’s race, Dillon was stuck around the middle of the top-15 virtually all day. At the beginning of the race Dillon wanted more rear grip, the team was able to make an adjustment to his car and Dillon was able to spend most of the day running around the 15th spot. However his cars handling at the end of the last green flag run resulting in his finishing spot.

18. Danica Patrick — In her second race at Sonoma, Patrick was able to stay in the top-20 for most of the day. Patrick started in the 11th position but spend most of the day back in traffic. A final pit stop sealed the finishing position for Patrick as her car wasn’t able to gain position on the field.

19. Tony Stewart — Stewart was contending up in the top-5 after coming out of nowhere in the last quarter of the race. That event didn’t last too long though. After seemingly getting to the top-10 from out of nowhere, Stewart was moved out of the top-10 almost as fast.

20. Kevin Harvick — Harvick had one of the fastest cars all day, and he used that speed to get to the top position of the race. Harvick led twice for 23 laps. Although his day was going great, Harvick was placed in the middle of the pack on a pit stop and then he was caught up in a wreck when Bowyer spun. The damage plummeted the speed out of the car and Harvick settled for a top-20 finish.

21. David Gilliland — Like Logano, Gilliland suffered a spin early on in the race. After the spin, the Front Row Motorsports team brought the Ford down pit-road to make the necessary repairs to get Gilliland back out onto the track and in contention to get a top-20 finish.

22. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski and team did not have the day that they wanted as they struggled late in the race. Keselowski was in the top-five in the early running part of the race. However towards the end of the race pit strategy went against them and Keselowski fell in the final results.

23. Aric Almirola — Almirola struggled throughout the day unlike his teammate. Every time that Almirola would make gains his team would have to come back and make the necessary adjustments on the next pit stop. Almirola gained six spots on the day after starting in 29th place.

24. Michael McDowell — McDowell logged laps during the day in his Ford. McDowell was near a trouble spot in the middle of the race as he almost made contact with Bowyer, but that was the only trouble spot. The rest of the day was spent finding the fastest line around the track. McDowell was able to stay clean and finish on the lead lap.

25. Kyle Busch — In the first part of the race Busch was relegated a lap down. Later on Busch was able to make up positions and be named the lucky dog. Busch continued to make gains on the day and cracked the top-10 by the time of the final restart. However Busch’s day went south, along with his track position when his tires gave out.

26. Denny Hamlin — As was the case last week, a late spin doomed the race and a top-20 finishing position for Hamlin. Even though Hamlin struggled throughout the day and was stuck in traffic, Hamlin started to make gains. All the gains were lost when he spun his car late. After getting his car pointed straight, Hamlin made up as many positions as he could.

27. Cole Whitt — With 20 laps to go Whitt was able to crack the top-10. He was able to get up front with pit strategy, but as was the case as many of the drivers in his position, the fresher tires of other cars that pitted after him, Whitt fell outside the top-10 and continued to fall down the running order. Whitt described the day as a learning experience on the track which was his first time racing at the Northern California track.

28. Kyle Larson — Larson had to flex his muscles during the 350-kilometer race in an unexpected way. Some point during the race Larson had to turn his car more than he had intended because his power steering went out. With Larson having to really crank the wheel on every turn, Larson had to focus more on the turns than speed.

29. Alex Bowman — Bowman was able to use a lucky dog pass once to get back on the lead lap. From there Bowman went on to put down competitive lap times. However despite the lap times, pitting before the final caution caused Bowman to finish the race further down the running order than where he ran.

30. Michael Annett — Annett was able to get back on the lead lap. After getting back on the lead lap, Annett preserved his lead lap finish by running faster laps than the cars around him. For most of the day Annett was able to stay out of trouble, but he fell a lap down early because of pit strategy.

31. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Stenhouse looked like he was going to bring his car home with a mid-20s finish. That was until the last lap however. On the last lap, Stenhouse was tapped from behind and that sent his car spinning. After spinning, Stenhouse grabbed a gear and continued on, but without a caution he finished the race one lap down.

32. Reed Sorenson — All day long it seemed like trouble happened just a few minutes ahead of Sorenson. With the trouble happening enough time ahead, Sorenson ws able to react and stay out of trouble. That is until the last spin. When Stenhouse spun, Sorenson made light contact with the cars and had to stop on track. The stopping time slowed his pace and he finished one lap down.

33. Justin Allgaier — Allgaier was able to have a pretty strong run in the race, despite finishing one lap down, Allgaier spent most of the day in the top-25. However as the race wore on so did his tires, and the other racers caught up to him and created damage on his rear bumper that hurt the areodynmaics on his car which resulted with him falling back in the pack.

34. J.J. Yeley — Yeley started in the very back of the pack after having another driver qualify his car. Throughout the race Yeley struggled to find the right line, although he was able to gain positions, in the end he just didn’t have the car to get him into the mid-20s.

35. Boris Said — Said who used to be one of the biggest factors in road course races was not a factor in Sunday’s race at all. All day Said was stuck in the back of the pack where he struggled to make positions  during the race.

36. David Ragan — Ragan was not able to get through the corners of the race like he needed to all race long. Without good corners his lap time suffered and as a result so did his track position. At the end of the day Ragan was able to bring home the race in 36th.

37. A.J. Allmendinger — Despite leading 35 laps on the day, the most of any of the 43 drivers, Allmendiger finished the race two laps down. What happened to Allmendinger was a wreck and a spin that ruined his day. While running in the top five Allmendinger got punted into the wall by Junior. That wreck threw off his steering for the rest of the race, and hampered his finish.

38. Tomy Drissi — Drissi is an accomplished road course racer, in several other series. However, the race at Sonoma did not go the way that he and his team had planned. All race long the car struggled to find speed and several times Drissi was forced to give up challenges to his position. In the end he suffered as did his finishing result.

39. Alex Kennedy — One of the few cars that was not able to finish the day. Shifting is important to get the right speed at the right spot for road courses. While Kennedy was able to shift well, his rear gear did not keep u with the constant changes to the vehicle and Kennedy had to retire after 95 laps due to a failing rear gear.

40. Josh Wise — Wish finished the race after completing only 91 laps. Although Wise was not involved in any wreck, his day was hampared by fuel pressure problems, that caused his team to have to make several pit stops. Making all the extra pit stops slowed down Wise’s forward progress.

41. Ryan Truex — Truex lost the rear gear in his car after an early race tangle. During the course of the race Truex and his team were able to get the repairs to his Toyota to get the rear gear working again. The team was successful, but they returned to the track several laps down.

42. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth has never been known for his road course expertise. While Kenseth sturggles at the track his struggle was made worse today when he was sent into a tire barrier at the top of the esses. The wreck was one that was very violent looking in nature, but did no harm to Kenseth. His car was sent off course after contact with Earnhardt Jr. and the resulting wreck tore the nose and most of the front end off Kenseth’s car, ending his day after 74 laps.

43. Landon Cassill — Cassil and his team spent the least amount of time on track on Sunday. After 29 laps of race, Cassill’s engine let go on him and he had to be pushed back to the garage where he ended the day.

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