Kyle Busch drove to his first win of 2015 at Sonoma Sunday afternoon, making a late-race pass on Team Chevy’s Jimmie Johnson to take the overall victory. Work for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver is still far from over, however, as he still needs to finish in the top 30 in the point standings to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup after missing the first 11 races of the season.
Starting from seventh place on the final restart, Busch worked his way through the field with just seven laps left. The Toyota driver pitted for fresh tires under the final yellow flag, while Johnson and the rest of the top-five drivers stayed out in order to hold track position. The strategy may have worked on one of NASCAR’s ovals, but on the winding road course at Sonoma, Busch’s fresh tires proved paramount.
When the race went green, Busch easily passed each driver in front of him before finally moving past Johnson with two laps left. His brother Kurt Busch, who was picked by FOX’s Darrell Waltrip to take the win today, was equally as strong in the closing laps. He finished second ahead of 2012’s Sonoma race winner Clint Bowyer. Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano finished fourth, with the latter giving Ford its only appearance in the top five.
Pole sitter AJ Allmendinger’s chances at victory were thwarted when the Team Chevy driver experienced a fuel pressure issue. He pitted for repairs just past the halfway mark and reentered the field 12 laps down before finishing 37th. Furniture Row Racing also had a poor finish in what has so far been a strong season after Martin Truex Jr. crashed on Lap 28 and ended up 42nd.
All eyes were on hometown hero Jeff Gordon at Sonoma, who was hoping to lock down a win in what would be his final Sprint Cup race at the Californian road course. Gordon’s car ended up not being strong enough and he ended up 16th sandwiched between Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon.
Kevin Harvick has widened his lead over Martin Truex Jr. in the driver standings with his strong fourth place finish Sunday. Truex will be looking to avenge his poor finish on July 3rd when NASCAR races under the lights in Daytona for the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola.
For full results from the Toyota Save Mart 350 at Sonoma, click here.