Kevin Harvick wins at Sonona for 1st victory of season


The 2014 NASCAR champion came to Sears Point winless in 20 races since Kansas last fall and has been overshadowed in this season of young, new superstars.

"It was interesting listening to some of the [Joe] Gibbs [Racing] drivers and the gamesmanship they were playing. they pitted [while Harvick didn't in the final 30 laps] and came back out and then immediately started screaming [about] debris on the race track", said Stewart, who was critical of NASCAR for throwing a late debris caution at MI last week.

Now 42 years old and married, Fox stopped him Sunday after what might have been his final race on the picturesque road course in Napa Valley wine country.

Sonoma was one of just four active tracks where Harvick had never before scored a Cup victory.

Brendan Gaughan took advantage of a late restart to win the second stage and pick up his first playoff points of the season.

"I feel good", said Harvick. "This is one of those things", he said, "where you could look back 10 years from now and it will be even bigger".

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In a race with remarkably few cautions - other than those ending each stage - the race still contained plenty of incidents, including a race-ending engine blow-out for stage one victor Martin Truex Jr. Seizing on the opportunity before him, Harvick capitalized by running down and catching leader Brad Keselowski, then leading the final 22 laps to win the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

Despite its first-year status, Stewart-Haas could be considered Ford's best team.

While the win Sunday was Harvick's first of the season, he was by no means having a bad season. The driver from Bakersfield, Calif., believes the Stewart-Haas team is just hitting its stride after a busy off season conversion from Chevy entries to Ford. "But, long after your career — guys come along and win races and some of your accomplishments on the track sort of get forgotten".

"I'm going to be coming back to these tracks, and I want to continue to be part of the sport", he said. For NASCAR, you've got cars that can make and take a little contact and these cars on the road courses are better than we could have imagined several years ago. He took a mangled auto with a lot of tape holding it together and rallied from the rear of the field over the the second half of the race. Truex's engine wasn't up to the task of lasting the entirety of the 219-mile race, expiring 24 laps from the finish. Jimmie Johnson won the second stage, his first stage victory, but finished 13th.

Four laps later, the first caution of the day came out when No. 88 Dale Earnhardt locked his breaks up and spun out, collecting both No. 10 Danica Patrick and Kyle Larson. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were fourth and fifth in Toyota, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sixth and the highest-finishing Chevrolet.

Earnhardt, a two-time Daytona 500 victor, owns an Xfinity Series team. Erik Jones and Chase Elliott started the race in backup cars because of wrecks in practice.

"This is cool to get a pole on a road course at my home state".

Dixon edged Josef Newgarden by 0.57 seconds to claim his first victory at Road America. Fast facts: Larson picked up his second win of 2017 in MI after surviving three late restarts.

NASCAR drivers had one of those rare weekends, not because they were in California, but because it was their chance to make some right turns this weekend.

Kyle Larson won the pole position (75.177 at 95.295).

Two more Penske drivers will start in the second row today after Josef Newgarden qualified third and Simon Pagenaud fourth.

Castroneves beat out teammate Will Power by.06 seconds to take the pole.

Championship points leader Todd Gilliland, Blaine Perkins, Todd Souza, Sheldon Creed, Chris Eggleston and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup driver Daniel Suarez rounded out the top 10.