Monster Energy Cup

By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones was among those who passed the most cars in the Toyota Save Mart 350. The third-year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver moved far up the running order in the final caution-free stage. Jones’ No. 20 Craftsman Toyota Camry made quick work of Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer as they faded on worn tires. He had been mid-pack before his late-race surge forward. Jones picked up a couple more positions at Sonoma Raceway after Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski and JoeyRead More
By Luis Torres, Staff Writer SONOMA, California — In 223 NASCAR national touring starts, with 155 in the Cup Series, Matt DiBenedetto has never scored a top-five. That all changed Sunday as a fourth-place result in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway capped off a career-defining afternoon. Through tremendous strategy and a solid all around car, DiBenedetto and the entire Leavine Family Racing kept working on the No. 95 Procore Toyota Camry all afternoon, and it paid off as he’s now 25th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standingsRead More
By Luis Torres, Staff Writer SONOMA, California — Hungry for his second Toyota/Save Mart 350 victory, Kyle Busch was a man on a mission to beat Martin Truex, Jr., but the bid fell 1.861 seconds short Sunday at Sonoma Raceway. With fresher tires, Busch’s caved-in No. 18 M&Ms Hazelnut Toyota Camry kept cutting down his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate’s 8.3 second lead with 20 laps remaining. Several laps later, Busch’s deficit just kept decreasing and the question would now become can he pass Truex? Lapped traffic would also play a pivotalRead More
By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service SONOMA, Calif. – Dominant in defense of last year’s victory in the Toyota/Save Mart 350, Martin Truex Jr. held off Kyle Busch, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, to win Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway. With three-lap fresher tires after the final set of green-flag pit stops at the 2.52-mile road course—which for the first time since 1997 featured use of the carousel connecting Turns 4 and 7—Busch closed an 8.269-second gap to slightly more than a second over theRead More
By Luis Torres, Staff Writer SONOMA, California — Sonoma Raceway is once again Kyle Larson’s yard after scoring his third straight pole in the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Larson’s No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet Camaro ran a qualifying speed of 95.712 mph, beating out William Byron by 0.043 seconds. It’s not only the Elk Grove native’s first pole of the season, but joins Ricky Rudd (1990-92) as the only drivers to have won three straight Sonoma poles. Larson described his final round qualifying performance a bit slower than what he didRead More
By Luis Torres, Staff Writer SONOMA, California — William Byron is still trying getting used to Sonoma Raceway as he’ll make his second start at the now 2.52-mile circuit this Sunday. Even if it’s his second Cup rodeo, Byron learned right away that launching into the corners in “The Carousel” will be key, but his biggest surprise from the two practice sessions on Friday was the amount of grip being different than last year where he finished 25th. “I’m surprised how much grip the track has lost in areas that weRead More
By Luis Torres, Staff Writer SONOMA, California — Although 23 points behind Daniel Hemric for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors after 15 races, it has been quite the rookie campaign for Ryan Preece. The former Modified champion has already gotten people to notice his skillful driving with astonishing results in both plate circuits, scoring an eighth in the Daytona 500 and a career-high third at Talladega. Not only that, he also had strong showing at Atlanta before a pit road accident with B.J. McLeod eliminated him from a astonishingRead More
By Luis Torres, Staff Writer SONOMA, California — The return of the “Carousel” wasn’t the sole subject of both Friday practice sessions for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. Instead, all eyes were on both Kyle Larson and last year’s winner Martin Truex, Jr. Both competitors set blistering pace on a the dirty track surface, but the sessions proved to be relatively tamed. On the opposite end, some competitors such as Bubba Wallace and Cody Ware, struggled in both sessions as it pertained of finding a proper groove to getRead More
By Luis Torres, Staff Writer SONOMA, California — The tributes to NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip will continue beyond this weekend’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. The latest driver to celebrate Waltrip’s career was Denny Hamlin, who unveiled the throwback paint scheme he’ll be running for this year’s Bojangles’ Southern 500, which left Waltrip amazed Friday morning. Hamlin’s throwback scheme commemorates Waltrip’s Western Auto paint scheme from 1991-95, where he scored his final five of his 84 NASCAR Cup victories. Alongside Hamlin, Waltrip’s wife, Stevie Waltrip, and Fox SportsRead More