NASCAR Toyota/Save Mart 350 results, finishing order:

The twists and turns of Sonoma Raceway turned into a game of cat and mouse between two of the best drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series this season.

If road course races provide ways for someone other than the usual suspects to win a NASCAR Cup Series race, no one bothered to tell the favorites for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. Like several other 2018 races, the battle for the win involved Kevin Harvick, but in a somewhat unfamiliar position as he tried to hold off a hard-charging Martin Truex Jr. late.

As it turns out, he could not.

Truex and crew chief Cole Pearn made the correct call in a critical situation, electing to split the final, 60-lap segment of the race in half after Harvick and other cars near the front stopped much earlier. The result was that with fresher tires, Truex was able to quickly run down Harvick, passing him with 20 laps to go. After that, the only thing that could prevent him from winning was a caution flag, but none flew the rest of the way.

The victory was Truex’s second at Sonoma, but more importantly, third of the 2018 season. He joined Harvick and Kyle Busch as the only drivers with at least that many, turning the hunt for the championship into a true three-person battle if it wasn’t already.

The best candidate for someone to sneak in and shake up the 2018 status quo could have been AJ Allmendinger, a noted road course specialist who won his first stage of the season when he captured Stage 1, albeit in part because most of the leaders pitted with a few laps to go. But the ‘Dinger saw his day end early in Stage 2 when he missed a shift, wrecking the engine on his No. 47 Kroger Click List Chevrolet.

There was little drama the rest of the way other than the pit road strategy gambit, as there were no more cautions for on-track incidents and very few passes for the lead. That’s not what fans have come to expect or hope for from Sonoma, but during a season when the dominant drivers have been too far out in front of the field most weeks for anyone to do anything about it, even the first road course on the schedule ended up playing its expected part in this particular script.

2018 Toyota/Save Mart 350 finishing order from Sonoma Raceway

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (third win of 2018, 18th career Cup Series victory)
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Clint Bowyer
  4. Chase Elliott
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Kurt Busch
  7. Erik Jones
  8. Aric Almirola
  9. Alex Bowman
  10. Denny Hamlin (Stage 2 winner)
  11. Jimmie Johnson
  12. Chris Buescher
  13. Brad Keselowski
  14. Kyle Larson
  15. Daniel Suarez
  16. Austin Dillon
  17. Matt DiBenedetto
  18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  19. Joey Logano
  20. Kasey Kahne
  21. Michael McDowell
  22. David Ragan
  23. Parker Kligerman
  24. Ryan Newman
  25. William Byron
  26. Paul Menard
  27. Trevor Bayne
  28. Justin Marks
  29. Bubba Wallace
  30. Gray Gaulding
  31. Chris Cook
  32. Tomy Drissi
  33. Ty Dillon
  34. Ryan Blaney
  35. Cole Whitt
  36. Cody Ware
  37. Jamie McMurray
  38. AJ Allmendinger (Stage 1 winner)