Kevin Harvick stretched his fuel over the final 40 laps Sunday at Sonoma Raceway, scoring his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win of the season.
Harvick led 24 of the 110 laps, with his Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford a solid 8.036 seconds in front at the finish. His first victory at the 1.99-mile road course was the 36th of his career in NASCAR’s premier series.
“I am so excited,” Harvick said from Victory Lane. “I think as you look at it, getting our first win with Ford, this has been a great journey for us as an organization and team.”
Unofficially, Clint Bowyer, Harvick’s SHR teammate, finished second in a battered No. 14 Ford. Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch completed the top five in the first of two road-course events for the series this year. Official results are still pending.
Martin Truex Jr. led a race-high 25 laps, but was sidelined by engine trouble on his Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota with 34 laps remaining. Truex did pad his advantage in playoff points by winning the first stage, his series-best 11th stage victory of the season.
Several cars pressed on after sustaining damage in the eventful opening stages. Pole-starter Kyle Larson was among those collected in a Lap 14 incident that involved Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick.
Those same three drivers were tangled up in a Lap 30 stack-up that sent Patrick spinning in Turn 4A. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., her boyfriend, was unable to avoid the mishap, his Roush Fenway No. 17 Ford careening into her Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Ford. Despite all the early adventure, Patrick managed a 17th-place finish. Stenhouse finished last in the 38-car field.
Early favorite AJ Allmendinger endured a difficult day in the JTG Daugherty Racing No. 47 Chevrolet. The road-racing specialist spun on Lap 34, absorbing rear-end damage after slight contact from Clint Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford. Allmendinger lost plenty of ground in the race’s final stage, stopping for a battery change. His day ended in 35th place, six laps off the pace.
Five drivers made their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut. The top finisher among them was Billy Johnson, the interim replacement for injured Aric Almirola who placed 22nd in the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford.
Alon Day, a graduate of the NASCAR Next youth initiative, became the first Israeli-born driver to compete in NASCAR’s top division. He spun and continued on with damage to his BK Racing No. 23 Toyota to finish 32nd. Kevin O’Connell (33rd) and Tommy Regan (34th) and Josh Bilicki (36th) were the other newcomers to the series.
The series’ next race is the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola, scheduled Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) at Daytona International Speedway.
-NASCAR Wire Services