Tha Sports Junkies 101

Tony Stewart Wins Toyota/Save Mart 350

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Tony Stewart claimed victory in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway Sunday, his first NASCAR win since June 2013 with a thrilling last lap pass. Denny Hamlin finished 2nd, with Joey Logano, Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr rounding out the top 5.

After leading the previous 21 laps, Stewart wheel hopped in Turn 7, giving Denny Hamlin enough room to capitalize and take the lead. But in Turn 11, Hamlin himself went high, opening the door for Stewart to bounce off Hamlin’s car, sending it into the wall. Tony Stewart then drag raced to the line, bent front fender and all, to claim his first win at Sonoma since 2005 and the 49th of his Sprint Cup career.

“I had just a little bit too much rear brake for Turn 7,” Stewart said in his post race interview with FS1. “I felt a nudge when I got down there and he knew where it was and he did the right thing doing it there; but if I could get to (Hamlin), he knew what was coming. Hamlin told me he was proud of me, He knows what it means. We were teammates for a long time and we respect each other a lot.”

Tony is now only 32nd in points after entering the race 36th. He only needs 9 points to reach 30th, the target points position needed at Richmond to become part of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Other storylines from Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 At Sonoma Raceway include:

  • Clint Bowyer, a former Sonoma winner, fell victim to an electrical fire eight laps into the race. Bowyer finished last for only his third result outside the top 10 at Sonoma in his career.
  • AJ Allmendinger, who led 20 laps, was penalized for an uncontrolled tire during the final pit stops and had to restart 36th before finishing 14th.
  • Since winning the Daytona 500, Hamlin had not led more than 15 laps in a race.
  • Joey Logano finished third for his best finish in eight Sonoma starts.
  • Kasey Kahne finished ninth for his third top 10 in the last six races.
  • Ryan Newman finished eighth for his his fifth top 10 and second-best finish of the year.

Next race up: NASCAR returns to where the season started next Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400.