Race Review: Toyota/Save Mart 350

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save mart 350Welcome race fans to the sixteenth race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. This week we are in Sonoma, Ca. at Infineon Raceway. This my friends, is the first of two road course races. As always, there are road course specialists hoping to get into the race. 08 is Boris Said, 09 is Ron Fellows. 04 is PJ Jones in a Robby Gordon car. 55  is Patrick Carpentier in the MWR car instead of Michael Waltrip. 02 is Brandon Ash. Failing to make the race are 82 Scott Speed, 27 Tom Hubert, 37 Chris Cook and 36 Brian Simo. 87 Joe Nemecheck made the race, but Scott Speed didn’t. Nemecheck gave his 87 car to Speed to drive this race. 83 Brian Vickers is on the pole with a speed of 93.678 for the second race in a row. 18 Kyle Busch starts second. Kyle won last year. 47 Marcos Ambrose blew an engine. 71 David Gilliland is in a back-up car after a crash in practice. 87 had a driver change from Nemechek to Speed. All three will start from the rear.

So, here we go! 83 Vickers leads from the pole. 14 Tony Stewart lets team mate 39 Ryan Newman by. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. gets by 14 for fifth. 17 Matt Kenseth, 24 Jeff Gordon and 20 Joey Logano battle. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya is up to tenth after starting seventeenth. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. stomps on the brakes and flat-spots the tires. He has to pit. 47  Ambrose is up fifteen spots. 44 AJ Almendinger gets into the dirt. 47 pits on lap thirteen. 44 gets a speeding penalty. 18 Kyle Busch takes the lead.

The first caution comes out when 31 Jeff Burton spins. Several others are involved including 6 David Ragan getting into the tires and 12 David Stremme. The coverage wasn’t very good. They had to keep going to commercial. 13 Max Papis is the Lucky Dog and gets his lap back. We’re told there is lots of action all over the track, but the cameras are focused on 18. 11 Denny Hamlin turns 09 Fellows to miss the tires in turn eleven. 18 pits and 14 takes the lead. 18 stalls the car after pitting.

55 Carpentier and 33 Clint Bowyer spin out. 48 Jimmy Johnson is too fast entering the pits and  will have to come back in again and drive through. 9 Kasey Kahne leads when 14 pits. 39  Newman won’t let 47 Ambrose by. 9 pits and 11 Denny Hamlin takes the lead. 43 Reed Sorenson goes to the garage with a broken track bar. 2 Kurt Busch drives by 11 to take the lead. 2 is mirror-driving and locks the brakes, letting 11  retake the lead. 04 Jones is out. 19 Elliott Sadler goes on an off-track excursion. 00 David Reutimann spins and gets into the dirt, after 48 gets into him.

43 is back on the track, several laps down. 71 Gilliland gets into 1 Truex, Jr. 24 Jeff Gordon and 42 Montoya battle for fifteenth. The second caution comes out for debris on the track. 44 AJ Almendinger is the Lucky Dog. The top nineteen cars stay out. 24 gets a speeding ticket. 02 Ash spins out when he and 16 Greg Biffle get together. 5 Mark Martin is slow and 29 Kevin Harvick gets into him. 5 was slow because 17 Matt Kenseth got into him. 83 and 42 battle for ninth. 47 gets by 18 for fifth. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. and 99 Carl Edwards battle for fifth. 77 spins and 18 gets into him and they both spin out. 83 gets by 77 but gets into 18.

14 and 2 battle for second. 14 takes the spot. 17 has some damage from his spin. 14 leads when 11 pits. 2 beats 11 out of the pits. 08 Said is too fast exiting the pits. 42 pits from sixth place. 24 drops a lug nut in his pit stop, adding a few seconds to his stop. 31 Jeff Burton has an off-course excursion. 7 Robby Gordon leads when 14 pits. 47 flies out of the pits and into 96 Bobby Labonte. 96 spins into the dirt and can’t get going. Which brings out the third caution. 7 now has to pit under caution and will not win the race. 7, 1 and 34 John Andretti now have to pit. 87 Speed stays out to lead, but falls back.

20 Joey Logano gets into 87. 47 gets by. 39 spins into the dirt. 98 Paul Menard goes oround 39 to get by. The fourth caution comes out during the commercial. 09 got into 77 and 71 got into 77 while he was spinning. 18 Kyle Busch is the Lucky Dog. 9 is still leading. And they restart double-file with 9 on the outside. 14 and 42 battle for second. 14 takes the spot. 48 and 2 battle. 2 spins out into the tires. 47 gets into the wall while battling 11 and 48. There wasn’t enough room for all three.

The fifth caution comes out because 2 was stuck in the dirt. 17 Matt Kenseth is the Lucky Dog. 9 is still leading and will restart again on the outside. 16 spins. 47 and 48 battle. 47 takes the spot. 02 gets into the wall. The sixth caution comes out for debris – someone’s header fell off! 77 Sam Hornish, Jr., eight laps down, gets one of them back. 42 and 14 battle again for second. 47 gets by 42. 18 spins and the car won’t refire. There’s lots of spinning going on with lots of dirt flying around. 6 Ragan and 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. spin together when 99 Carl Edwards gets into 6. 7 spins 08. 12 David Stremme gets off-course and pits. 08 spins 87.

The seventh caution comes out because 87 is stopped on the track. 77 gets another lap back with the Lucky Dog. It will be a Green, White Checker finish. 9 once again is on the outside for the restart. 31, 7 and 5 spin into each other.

And 9 Kasey Kahne wins the Toyota/Save Mart 350. This is his first road course win. And the first win for the new Richard Petty Motorsports.  The King congratulates Kasey in Victory Lane. This is Kasey’s tenth career win. RPM had three cars in the top ten.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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