How the Toyota/Save Mart 350, the 16th race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, played out Sunday at Sonoma Raceway:
WINNER: Martin Truex Jr. held off Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch down the stretch to win the season's first road race for the second consecutive year.
Truex led 59 laps, most among the field, and beat Busch by 1.861 seconds for his 23rd career win and third at Sonoma, which breaks a tie with Busch for most among active drivers at the California road course.
"I just dug down deep and tried to be smooth and hit my marks, and luckily I was able to have a big enough gap to settle in and not feel so much pressure," Truex said about keeping Busch in his rearview mirror.
"What a season we turned this into," Truex continued. "This group (the No. 19 team), they're unbelievable. Hopefully we can keep it going."
Martin Truex Jr. celebrates after winning Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo: Jonathan Ferrey, Getty Images)
Truex also tied Busch on top of the season win list, claiming his fourth win of the season, with all four victories coming in the last eight races. But Busch became the first driver to reach 10 top-five finishes this season.
"I just didn't have the drive that I needed," Busch said. "I was trying to hold onto it, trying to save it. I knew that was going to be a problem. When you get closer, you say, 'I can get him, I better go and pounce on him fast so he doesn't have time to pick up the pace.' It didn't work, he was saving a lot. I knew he was going to be saving a lot and would have enough to be able to hold us off, and I was right.
"Martin is really, really good here. I'm just pumped that I ran good here."
Retweet to congratulate @MartinTruex_Jr and the No. 19 team on their WIN in Sonoma! pic.twitter.com/u4oUFTaCR8
Ryan Blaney finished third, Matt DiBenedetto fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth. It was DiBenedetto's best career finish in the Cup Series, and the Leavine Family Racing driver was overcome with emotion.
"I'm just so lucky to be doing this," DiBenedetto said. "My path to get here has been so out of the ordinary and old school, and I'm so thankful. I can't tell you how many people who have taken a chance on me, to have this opportunity. I don't know how to explain how thankful I am. "
Kevin Harvick finished sixth, Ryan Newman seventh, Erik Jones eighth, Aric Almirola ninth and Kyle Larson 10th.
ENGINE EXPIRES: Chase Elliott was forced to retire from the race after 60 laps when his engine failed. Elliott, who started fourth, was running third when he brought the car to pit road under green. The No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports crew lifted the hood to examine the issue but were forced to push the car back to the garage, ending Elliott's day.
Chase Elliott is done for the day (engine let go).#HotPasspic.twitter.com/1XQheHb2tS
STAGE 2: Hamlin, who finished second in the opening segment, earned his second stage win of the season after leading the final three laps. Like the opening stage, many drivers hit pit road before the end of the 20-lap segment — and not under caution — to have a better position for the stage 3 restart. Brad Keselowski finished second, stage 1 winner William Byron third, Keselowski's Penske teammate Joey Logano fourth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. fifth. Larson, Truex, Elliott, Kyle Busch and Bubba Wallace rounded out the top 10.
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