2015 Toyota Save Mart 350

2015 Toyota Save Mart 350

Midseason 2014 , A rumor is heard throughout NASCAR,  Jeff Gordon is going to retire. The rumor is confirmed January 22nd 2015 before the season opener at Daytona.   More info:  http://www.sbnation.com/nascar/2015/1/22/7871505/jeff-gordon-2015-final-season-retire

With the season well on its way, June vastly approaches for the first road coarse event held at Sonoma.  With the announcement of Gordon’s retirement. The track prepares for one of the largest events to be held at Sonoma Raceway in its history. For more information on Jeff Gordon’s Homecoming, visit Sonoma Raceway News – CFRN Home page.

One of the most enjoyable and fascinating weekends fans have attended.  Being a season ticket holder since 1990, the show keeps getting better.  Plenty for fans to do and see.  From inter-active fun from Toyota to riding a Ferris wheel overseeing the race track.  Plenty of food and drink from concession stands and Souvenirs from race team vendors.

Mid – Sunday Morning, NASCAR presents the 2nd Annual Drivers Meeting held inside turn 11.  Fans over filling the hairpin turn, gives a chance for the fans to see all 43 NASCAR drivers, crew chiefs, race dignitaries and see special guests like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A pit tour was available to fans during the morning hours. A magnificent Air Show overhead followed by Driver’s introduction and beginning of race ceremonies.

More to see over the entire 3 days. Lots of practice, qualifying and racing. Starting off with the K&N Pro series West and Porsche GT3 Cup Trophy USA.

With the Announcement of “Drivers, start your engines”.  The roar of 43, 800 plus Horse power Cup Cars crank up to start the warm up laps at Sonoma.  The 110 lap,  10 turn 2.0 mile track is ready for fast and furious racing.

Kyle Busch’s hopes of making the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup improved significantly on Sunday at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.

Busch used a late-race caution to pit for four fresh tires, then he drove past leader Jimmie Johnson with five laps to go to score his first win of the season in the Save Mart 350. He needed it to have any shot of making the Chase, since Busch will have to be in the top 30 in points after the 26-race cutoff in September.

But winning a race – the biggest uphill battle – is now out of the way.

“This is awesome, just unbelievable,” said Busch – who was in such a deep points hole after breaking his leg and foot in a crash during an XFINITY Series race in February at Daytona Int’l Speedway and missing three months of racing. He’ll still have to rattle off top-10 finishes before the end of the 26th race to make the Chase for the third straight year.

“I can’t say enough about everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and my medical team, and I can’t say enough about my brother (Kurt),” Busch added. “He made it tough on Clint Bowyer there the last few laps.”

Kurt Busch finished second to complete a one-two finish for the family, only one race after the duo finished last and first at Michigan Int’l Speedway two weeks prior.

“It was incredible drive all day, the car was fast and I thought we had the right (pit) sequence,” Busch said. “Our Haas Automation Chevy was fast. We led a lot of laps. (Crew chief) Tony Gibson and all the guys built a beautiful road course race car. Congrats to my little brother too, I know this means a lot to him.”

Bowyer hung on for third, while Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano rounded out the top five.

Johnson appeared to be pulling away to victory before Casey Mears broke an axle with 12 laps to go and brought out the race’s final caution. Johnson was the only lead car not to pit, as Bowyer, Busch and the rest of the front runners swooped in for fresh tires. The Busch brothers and Bowyer made quick work of Johnson over the final seven laps, but Johnson still held on to finish sixth.

Two of Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne, finished seventh and eighth. Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr. completed the top 10.

Jeff Gordon made his final start in his home state and wound up 16th.


Article by Randy Jones  CFRN   Photos by Randy Jones

Sources:  Aaron Burns; National Speed Sport News, Sonoma Raceway