Kyle Larson won at Sonoma making it back to back victories while sweeping every Stage along the way. Larson made it look easy as he held off Chase Elliott and Martin Truex, Jr. Elliott was vying for his first won at Sonoma after being dominant at every other road course and Truex was going for his third Sonoma win.
Once again Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports looked unbeatable as Team Hendrick led 75 of the 90 lap race. Larson led 57 laps, Elliott 13 and William Byron 5.
Few drivers seemed to have anything to really challenge Larson with. Elliott got the closest in the final laps but during the race, Larson often led by 2-3 seconds over any challenger. Even when mired in traffic due to pit strategy, Larson readily drove through the field and ran down the leader, passing him easily in the braking zones.
Larson has now tied Truex with 3 wins and is suddenly second in points to winless Denny Hamlin. But this win combined with his list of Top 10 and Top 5 finishes has him seeded number one in the playoff picture. He has 11 Stage wins and has led far more laps than anyone. No one is even close to this kind of performance this season. But those are the kind of numbers you put up when you go out and spank the field two races in a row. If he can keep this up, he could run the table in the playoffs and nab his first championship. But there is a lot of racing to go still so I hate to even speculate about the playoffs as Fox did on Sunday.
Kyle Busch Watch
Kyle Busch led 2 laps and finished P5. Not too shabby at a course he has won at twice. He had some front end damage but front end aerodynamics really isn’t an issue at a road course. No one had any practice at Sonoma so I consider this a strong race for the team. They usually struggle without practice so a Top 5 is pretty good for them.
All Star Race Watch
The All Star Race moves to Texas this season and it is hard to determine a winner because of the format. With that said, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are both two-time Texas winners in the last 6 races. Denny Hamlin and Austin Dillon have one win each in the last 6 years. Other top runners are Martin Truex, Jr., Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman and William Byron, just because of how well Hendrick drivers are running right now. I would also count in Joey Logano and up-and-comer Tyler Reddick as a dark horse winner if he gets the fan vote.
Good on ya, mate
Kurt Busch (P6) led 8 laps and stayed up front most of the race. Ross Chastain (P7) didn’t lead any laps but that wasn’t for a lack of trying. A strong run for Ganassi Racing.
Ryan Blaney (P10) somehow finished in the Top 10 after a mixed day. Not great but not terrible either.
Erik Jones (P11) stayed in it even with all the bumping and grinding going on.
Daniel Suarez (P12) fought hard all day and just missed out on a Top 10.
Bubba Wallace (P14) brought home another Top 15.
Corey Lajoie (P18) was in it for a better finish but a late race spin cost him dearly. The same could be said for Tyler Reddick (P19) and Ryan Preece (P21).
And let’s not forget AJ Almendinger and his record tying win at Mid America in the Xfinity series.
So you had a bad day
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (P37) had an engine expire early.
William Byron (P35) started well enough but couldn’t avoid trouble near the end.
Ryan Newman (P35) was the last car on the lead lap. Kind of adds fuel to the Brad Keselowski fire.
Aric Almirola (27) looked like he might have a Top 15 finish… but nah.
Kevin Harvick (P22) got caught up in the late caution, but that’s what happens when you run in the middle of the pack late in a road race. When it comes to tires or track position, take the track position.
Leave me your thoughts in the comments below.
Drive fast, turn left (and right) and keep the shiny side up.
(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)