There’s no repeating as a NASCAR champion at Sonoma Raceway, at least, that is, for a decade.
Going into Sunday’s 26th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series running of the Toyota/Save Mart 350, there had been nine different winners in the Valley in as many years.
Make that 10 different NASCAR victors in Sonoma after Carl Edwards won by edging out second-place finisher Jeff Gordon, formerly of Vallejo, who, for the second year in a row, was denied his sixth title on Sonoma Raceway’s famous 11-turn, 1.99-mile NASCAR road course.
Last year, Gordon was nipped by defending champion and ninth consecutive winner Martin Truex Jr., who followed Toyota/Save Mart 350 champions Clint Bowyer (2012), Kurt Busch (2011), Jimmie Johnson (2008), Kasey Kahne (2009), Kyle Busch (2008), Juan Pablo Montoya (2007), Gordon (2006) and Tony Stewart (2005).
As for multi-Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sonoma winners, Gordon leads the pack with five titles (1998 through 2000, ’04 and ’06), followed by dual NASCAR winners Stewart (2001, ’05), Rusty Wallace (1990, ’96), Ernie Irvan (1992, ’94) and Ricky Rudd (1989, 2002).
In winning Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350, Edwards, who started from the fourth position in his Ford Fusion, led for 26 laps as nine different drivers shared the lead. Gordon, who started in the 15th position, led for three laps before finishing second. Dale Earnhardt Jr., was third, pole-sitter Jamie McMurray – who led for nine laps – was fourth, and Paul Menard was fifth. Sixth-through-10th, respectively, were Kasey Kahane, Jimmie Johnson, Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer. Last year’s winner, Martin Truex Jr., finished 15th.
Sonoma Raceway’s 2014 Big O Tires major events schedule continues with the annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals the weekend of July 25 through 27, which are preceded by the NHRA Division 7 Drag Races July 18 through 20.
The IndyCar Series, featuring the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, arrives in the Valley the weekend of Aug. 22 through 24, with the Classic Sports Racing Group Charity Challenge slated for Oct. 4 and 5.
For major event tickets, including the all-encompassing Track Pass, for details on the Wednesday Night Drags, or for general Sonoma Raceway information, call 800-870-RACE (7223), or visit racesonoma.com, or ticketmaster.com. Camping is also available around the facility.