NASCAR Cup Series: 2018 Toyota/Save Mart 350 results – Martin Truex Jr. wins

Truex Jr. earned his third victory of the 2018 season and second victory in the last three races by winning the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at the 10-turn, 1.990-mile (3.203-kilometer) Sonoma Raceway road course in Sonoma California. He also won the race at Pocono Raceway three weeks ago, and he won at Auto Club Speedway in mid-March.

Truex Jr. strategically won the race in his #78 Toyota by 10.513 seconds over second place finisher Kevin Harvick, who was the highest finishing Ford driver of the race in his #4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.

Cole Pearn, Truex Jr.’s crew chief, called Truex Jr. in to the pits for his final pit stop while Harvick was leading. When Harvick came into the pits, Pearn told Truex Jr. to stay out. When Truex Jr. came into the pits several laps later, he ended up with much fresher tires than Harvick did.

Truex Jr. was able to run Harvick down and take the lead from him, and Harvick decided to make another pit stop for fresher tires in case a caution flag came out so that he would be within striking distance of Truex Jr. and then have the ability to pass him on those fresher tires following a late restart.

That late restart didn’t happen.

Harvick trailed Truex Jr. by more than half a minute after making his final pit stop. While he was able to close the gap to him, he did not have enough laps to catch him and pass him unless a caution flag would have come out.

The 110-lap race featured a total of 11 lead changes among seven drivers. Aside of Truex Jr., who led more laps than anybody else in the field with 62 laps led, a total of six drivers led at least one lap of the race. Those drivers were Harvick, Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, Denny Hamlin, race polesitter Kyle Larson and A.J. Allmendinger. Allmendinger won stage one and Hamlin won stage two.

The race also featured a total of three caution flag periods for eight laps. Of those three caution flag periods, two took place as a result of the endings of stages one and two. Only one took place as a result of an on-track incident. That incident-related caution flag period began on lap 34 when the engine of Allmendinger’s #47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet failed.

Of the 38 drivers who started the race, 34 finished it. Of the 34 drivers who finished the race, 21 finished it on the lead lap. Of the 13 drivers who finished the race but did not finish it on the lead lap, 10 finished one lap down and three finished multiple laps down.
Source: Fansided