A clever pit strategy by Martin Truex Jr. and crew chief Cole Pearn set up the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota to cruise into Victory Lane at Sonoma Raceway in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday.
It was Truex Jr.’s second career win in Sonoma, and his third win this season. Truex also won this race in 2013.
Kevin Harvick, the defending race winner, finished second. Clint Bowyer, Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.
The winning pit-road fake out came when the No. 78 pit crew readied for Truex Jr. to come in for a final pit stop on Lap 73 of the 110-lap, 218.9-mile race — but only did so to lure Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to pit road. Harvick had a small lead over Truex Jr. at the time.
Harvick brought his No. 4 Ford in for tires and fuel, while Truex Jr. continued racing for seven more laps on the 1.99-mile road course — giving him much fresher tires to catch the leader, Harvick, when he finally did come to pit road on Lap 80.
Truex Jr. passed Harvick with 19 laps remaining and held on until the checkered flag. In all, Truex led a race-high 62 laps.
The Fraternal Order of The Go Fast
Linda B. The Cookie Mom saved her usage of Martin Truex, Jr. for just the right race, the right and left turns in Wine Country, Sonoma Raceway! For the Truex win, The Cookie Mom racked up 40 points. Even though she picked the winner, she was the second highest scorer of the week, you will notice that there were players who scored more points this week. Now you can see the beauty of stage points, and what effect that they play on the scores! The Cookie Mom will be the second highest scorer this week.
The Shakers and Movers
This race we can see the importance of stage points. Even though The Cookie Mom picked the winner, Martin Truex, Jr., he did not score any stage points to add to the race-winning total of 40 points. Kathy The Church Forecloser, however, selected Mr. Seven-Time, Jimmie Johnson as her man for Sonoma. Even though Jimmie Johnson finished in 11th position, it gave her 41 points and made The Forecloser the top scorer of the week!
Next up for discussion is a really shaky duo comprised of Doug The Gandy Candy Man and Leon Your Most Humble Sheriff. Both of these players were riding shotgun with “The Delivernator”, Denny Hamlin. Hamlin had a really strong run in the mid-portion of the race he did maneuver his hot rod back to claim 10th place and “deliver” 37 points to these men.
Five players, Karen The Highly Opinionated Southern Bell, Jerry The Buschwacker, Bobby Blue Crush, Amber The Cheddar Head, Edie The Las Vegas Super Star, and Bernie The Bay Area Bandit rallied to score 35 points when the checkered flag fell at Sonoma. All players were rooting for “Freaky Fast” Kevin Harvick, who finished in second place.
Lastly, there was a quartet of players, Carole, aka Rudy, A&M Aggie Sue, Zee, aka Sissy, as well as Ol Skid-Marc, that were hanging all race with Kyle Busch. Ol Rowdy rewarded this motley crew with 32 points from his fifth-place finish.
Seventeen players exchanged positions this week. The biggest mover was Jim, aka Chiefy. Ol Chiefy fell down like a Prom dress this week, dropping seven (7) spots to rest in 15th place.
Not too far behind Ol Chiefy is Jeremy The Coach! The Coach slipped, stumbled and fell five (5) places to now sit in 19th place.
Whereas Linda B. The Cookie Mom fared pretty well Sunday. The Cookie Mom stepped up three (3) places on the scoring pylon holding down the 19th place this week. She appears to be putting some space between her and The Outhouse!
Six players, Karen the Highly Opinionated Southern Belle, Linda R. The Lemonade Lefty, Amber The Cheddar Head, A&M Aggie Sue, Doug The Mongoose, Carlton The Doorman, as well as Edie The Las Vegas Super Star all moved two spots. The Highly Opinionated One, Aggie Sue, The Mongoose, and The Las Vegas Super Star all stepped up two places to sit in 5th, 8th, 9th, 10, and 13th, respectively. TheLemonade Lefty and The Doorman both dropped two places to sit in 6th and 11th, respectively.
Rounding out the top five movers is a group of eight players, which include Kathy The Church Forecloser,Lonna the Quilt Angel,Leon Your Most Humble Sheriff, Dan The Numbers Cruncher, Snoopy Dawn, Bobby Blue Crush, and Zee, aka Sissy.
Straight From the Crapper
Once again this week we have a pair of players in a dead heat for “The Crappiest Pick of The Week”. Both Jim, aka Chiefy and Jeremy The Coach were riding high, and most likely, gloating early in the race when their man “The Dinger” was dominating in the race. It looked like A.J. Allmendinger had a little something for the other 39 cars early in the race. However, a missed shift on a restart, shifting from second gear accidentally back into first gear, caused many of the expensive moving parts in both the block and the cylinder head to move to areas not designed to house those moving parts, and causing engine failure!
Once again this week, good Ol Skid-Marc is holding down the fort in the comfy confines of The Outhouse! The race for The Crapper is heating up between Skidz and his closest competitor, David The Mudslinging Throttle Jockey. The Mudslinger is only 9 slim points away from evicting Skidz out of “The Poophouse”!