Kyle Larson sweeps all stages to win the Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway for the first time in his career.
The NASCAR Cup Series had finally made it to California for its first race in the state in 1.5 years to compete at Sonoma, which definitely was a great spectacle.
The green flag was up and the racing action got underway. Polesitter Kyle Larson saved the lead in front of Chase Elliott and William Byron. Larson immediately made some gap. Christopher Bell went to the pit road after only 3 laps due to a technical issue.
Reigning race winner Martin Truex Jr. was determined to visit the victory lane again, so kept making moves after starting 19th. His teammate Denny Hamlin passed Byron for third.
Larson remained up front at the restart after competition caution. In fact, the no.5 car driver won stage 1.
Kurt Busch led the field at the start of stage 2 as he had stayed out on the track. Elliott passed Larson, which was crucial. Tyler Reddick had a contact with Alex Bowman. The no.8 car had a tire rub, so Reddick had to change his tires. Larson got ahead of Elliott ahead, while Byron took over the lead.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a hard hit into the wall, which triggered a caution. Larson got back in the lead for the restart. Bubba Wallace’s impressive stage 2 was affected by a flat tire. Larson kept up his form by winning another stage.
Kurt Busch stayed out again, so he took the green flag at the start of the final stage. However, he was eventually passed by Elliott. The favorites, Larson and Truex Jr, had a battle for several laps with the Hendrick Motorsports driver coming on top. Larson caught the leader Elliott. Several laps later, he made the pass. Their battle allowed Truex Jr. to get closer.
Strategy played a big role throughout the day, especially in the final stretch. Elliott pitted with less than 30 laps to go. Truex Jr. followed him. Larson also visited the pit road a bit later. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver ended up ahead of both his opponents, but not for long as Larson got ahead eventually. He also overtook Kyle Busch for the race lead.
Quin Houff stopped at the side of the track after a mechanical issue, so the caution was out once again. It was a real drama for Brad Keselowski as he appeared to have an advantage thanks to pitting right before the caution, but was penalized for a crew member going over the wall too soon.
Joey Logano was the leader at the restart. It took Larson only a couple of laps to reclaim the first place. Another caution was out on the track after a turn 11 incident, involving Chastain, LaJoie, Harvick, Jones, Bell, Byron, and Bowman. The race was over for the no.24 car driver.
Larson remained in the race lead at the restart, while Elliott got to 2nd after overtaking Logano. Cody Ware and Ryan Preece brought out a late caution after their collision.
Larson won the restart in a very confident style, but Anthony Alfredo stalling on the track forced another late caution. The race had to end under overtime conditions.
The overtime was on and Larson successfully held off his rivals to win at Sonoma as well as make a back-to-back trip to the victory lane. Elliott finished second to make it the 4th 1-2 finish for Hendrick Motorsports, while Truex Jr. completed the top 3 of the race.
Top 10 of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma:
|1||#5||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports|
|2||#9||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports|
|3||#19||Martin Truex Jr.||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|4||#22||Joey Logano||Team Penske|
|5||#18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|6||#1||Kurt Busch||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|7||#42||Ross Chastain||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|8||#11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|9||#48||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports|
|10||#12||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske|