Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr clinched his fourth NASCAR Cup Series victory of the 2019 season, resisting late pressure from team-mate Kyle Busch at Sonoma.
Busch made his final pitstop three laps later than Truex Jr, and carried a tyre advantage into the final 23 laps of the 90-lap race.
Emerging eight seconds adrift of his race leading team-mate, Busch rapidly closed the gap initially, although after drawing to within two seconds of Truex Jr with 12 laps remaining, the margin then stabilised.
Truex maintained that cushion over the remaining laps and crossed the line with a 1.8-second advantage, to match both Busch’s tally of 2019 victories and his Cup career total of four road-course wins.
Both drivers started stage three towards the front of the field – with Truex leading the pack and Busch in fourth – utilising a pit strategy in which they sacrificed points by pitting prior to the end of both stages.
In order to climb up to second place, Busch had to clear both Ryan Blaney’s Penske Ford as well as Chase Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports’ Chevrolet.
His move on Blaney left battle scars, as Busch hit the back of the #12 car in a bump-and-run move. He apologised to Blaney’s team on the radio but continued to march forward – his pace not diminished by his crushed nose.
Blaney was another driver who opted to pit prior to the end of the stages and finished third for Penske, albeit half a minute behind the top two.
Leavine Family Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto’s previous best finish this season was 12th at Bristol, but he stormed to a career-best fourth place.
DiBenedetto started the final stage in fifth but lost ground leading up to the final stops. Emerging in ninth place, the #95 Toyota driver started to surge back through the pack.
His charge to fourth was completed when he dived to the inside of Kevin Harvick at the Turn 11 hairpin.
Harvick had struggled to find a set-up through the weekend, and ran with team-mate Clint Bowyer’s settings during the race.
He had been on the periphery of the top 10 throughout the day until an early final pitstop propelled him to fourth, before he slipped back to sixth.
Harvick was demoted in the closing stages by JGR’s Denny Hamlin, who ended up fifth.
Hamlin finished highest of the drivers who did not pit prior to the end of the stages. He finished second in stage one before claiming victory in stage two, but started the final segment in 23rd place.
Ryan Newman and Erik Jones finished seventh and eighth – Jones recovering from being sent to the rear of the field at the start for unapproved changes after qualifying.
Stage one winner William Byron failed to make the progress of Hamlin in the final segment, despite running the same strategy. He finished 19th.
|1||Martin Truex Jr.||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||90|
|2||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||90|
|3||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske||Ford||90|
|4||Matt DiBenedetto||Leavine Family Racing||Toyota||90|
|5||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||90|
|6||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||90|
|7||Ryan Newman||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||90|
|8||Erik Jones||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||90|
|9||Aric Almirola||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||90|
|10||Kyle Larson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||90|
|11||Clint Bowyer||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||90|
|12||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||90|
|13||Kurt Busch||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||90|
|14||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||90|
|15||Daniel Hemric||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||90|
|16||Chris Buescher||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||90|
|17||Daniel Suarez||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||90|
|18||Brad Keselowski||Team Penske||Ford||90|
|19||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||90|
|20||David Ragan||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||90|
|21||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||90|
|22||Paul Menard||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||90|
|23||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||90|
|24||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||90|
|25||Michael McDowell||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||89|
|26||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Richard Petty Motorsports||Chevrolet||89|
|27||Ty Dillon||Germain Racing||Chevrolet||89|
|28||Matt Tifft||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||89|
|29||Ryan Preece||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||89|
|30||Parker Kligerman||Gaunt Brothers Racing||Toyota||89|
|31||Landon Cassill||StarCom Racing||Chevrolet||89|
|32||Corey LaJoie||Go FAS Racing||Ford||89|
|33||Ross Chastain||Premium Motorsports||Chevrolet||89|
|34||J.J. Haley||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||88|
|35||Reed Sorenson||Premium Motorsports||Chevrolet||88|
|36||Cody Ware||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet||64|
|37||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||60|
|38||J.J. Yeley||Petty Ware Racing||Chevrolet||53|