Toyota/Save Mart 350

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Toyota/Save Mart 350
Infineon (Sears Point) with emphasis on NASCAR track.png
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
VenueSonoma Raceway
LocationSonoma, California, United States
Corporate sponsorToyota
Save Mart
First race1989
Distance218.9 miles (352.285 km)
Laps110 (Stage 1: 25
Stage 2: 25
Stage 3: 60)
Most wins (driver)Jeff Gordon (5)
Most wins (team)Hendrick Motorsports (6)
Most wins (manufacturer)Chevrolet (11)
Circuit information
SurfaceAsphalt
Length1.99 mi (3.20 km)
Turns4

The Toyota/Save Mart 350 is a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stock car race held annually at Sonoma Raceway at Sears Point in Sonoma, California, It is one of three races held on road courses, with the other two being the Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International and the Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The race joined the circuit in 1989, It was added as a replacement for the Budweiser 400 at Riverside, which closed in 1988, The race had undergone several name and length changes throughout the year, The NASCAR West Series is held as combination race from 1989 to 1997 and has held as a standalone race since 2006. Due to the track's unique layout, the race generates annual discussion, with media, fans and participants both in favor and against racing this event, Due to the speedway's layout, Road course ringers are common, A NASCAR term standing for drivers only on road course races.

History[change | change source]

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson leading the field at the start of the 1997 race.

From 1989-1997, NASCAR had utilized the full 2.52-mile (4.056 km), best known for sports car racing, Subtle changes to some of the turns accommodated the stock cars, and increased passing widths, Ricky Rudd won the inaugural race at Sonoma.

Tony Stewart 2005 at Infineon

In the 1991 race, Sonoma became famous, With seven laps remaining in the race, Mark Martin tried to pass Tommy Kendall, who cut his tire, subbing for an injured Kyle Petty, The two made contact, resulting in Martin crashing and running into Davey Allison, cutting his tire. and the lead went to Davey Allison, Then with 2 laps to go, Ricky Rudd passed Allison for the lead, but spun out from contact in the final turn.

Ricky Rudd led the field to the white flag, and contended to win the race, his second victory at Sonoma, and to advance in championship standings, However, as he came around to take the win, Rudd was black-fagged just 3 feet from the finish line, Davey Allison was declared the winner and Rudd finished in second place.

The last Sonoma race was held at the previous road course passage was in 1997 on October 5 at a Truck Series event, There, Joe Ruffmann won the race but controversy erupted when Rich Bickle blamed a loss of top-ten finishes on rookie Boris Said, Rich Bickle cut down a tire, and in reply, Boris Said ran in to Bickle and waited for him to come around and crash him, NASCAR after a brief red flag for a massive crash in a wall of tires, disqualified Said and placed him $10,000 for his actions.

In 1998, the circuit for the event was shortened to a 1.95-mile (3.138 km) modified road course with the addition of the Chute from Turn 4 to Turn 7, bypassing Turn 5 and 6.

In 2001, the Chute was modified to such that the NASCAR circuit measured 1.99 miles (3.203 km) long.

Gilligan's Island[change | change source]

From 1989 to 2001, the pit road could modify up to 34 pit stalls, In the early years, some teams were required to share pit stalls, while the other teams were forced to pit inside the garage area.

After a few years, A makeshift auxiliary pit road was constructed inside the hairpin (turn 11), nicknamed Gilligan's Island, Cars that had nine slowest qualifying speeds were relegated to the pit stalls, Pitting in this area was considered as an inconvenience and a competitive disadvantage, more so than the even the disadvantages one would experience pitting on the back straightaway at a short period of time.

Since the length of the auxilary pit road, was significantly shorter than the other pit road, the cars that pitted were held from 15–20 seconds in order to make up for the time that would have been if the cars had traveled the entire pit road.[1]

Pitting on Gilligan's Island had several other inconveniences, The location (the staging area for the drag races, was landlocked by the race course, and crew members were unable to leave once the race began, Teams sent the only pit crew to Gilligan's Island, and once they were there, they could not access the garage area or their transporters, to collect spare parts/tools, The only repairs that could be made were routine tire changes and refueling, as well as major repairs, If a team pitting on Gilligan's Island dropped out of the race, The crewman were unable to pack their supplies and prepare to leave (a common practice at other tracks) until the race was over.

Changes to the track in 2002 that included separation of the drag strip from the frontstretch, removal of the main drag strip grandstand, and new control tower for road racing led to the pit road being expanded by extending pit road into the main straight and moving the pit exit up past turn 1, thereby expanding it to 43 cars, and Gilligan's Island was abandoned.

Trophy[change | change source]

The trophy was in form of wine bottle holder paired with a giant wine glass as a nod to NAPA County's wine country.[2]

Past winners[change | change source]

Year Date Winner Started Manufacturer Cautions/Laps Lead changes No. of cars Laps Miles Average soeed
1989 June 11 Ricky Rudd 4th Buick 3/16 3 42 74 186 mi (299.338 km) 76.088
1990 June 10 Rusty Wallace 11th Pontiac 9/24 8 44 74 186 mi (299.338 km) 69.245
1991 June 9 Davey Allison 13th Ford 5/14 10 43 74 186 mi (299.338 km) 72.970
1992 June 7 Ernie Irvan 2nd Chevrolet 3/7 7 43 74 186 mi (299.338 km) 81.413
1993 May 6 Geoffrey Bodine 3rd Ford 5/11 9 43 74 186 mi (299.338 km) 77.013
1994 May 15 Ernie Irvan 1st Ford 4/10 7 43 74 186 mi (299.338 km) 77.458
1995 May 7 Dale Earnhardt 4th Chevrolet 5/14 4 43 74 186 mi (299.338 km) 70.681
1996 May 5 Rusty Wallace 7th Ford 5/10 9 44 74 186 mi (299.338 km) 77.673
1997 May 5 Mark Martin 1st Ford 3/9 6 44 74 186 mi (299.338 km) 75.788
1998 June 28 Jeff Gordon 1st Chevrolet 5/23 9 43 112 218 mi (350.837 km) 70.378
1999 June 27 Jeff Gordon 1st Chevrolet 7/26 7 43 112 218 mi (350.837 km) 70.578
2000 June 25 Jeff Gordon 5th Chevrolet 4/14 10 43 112 218 mi (350.837 km) 78.789
2001 June 24 Tony Stewart 3rd Pontiac 5/16 10 43 112 218 mi (350.837 km) 75.889
2002 June 23 Ricky Rudd 7th Ford 3/9 10 43 110 219 mi (352.446 km) 81.007
2003 June 22 Robby Gordon 2nd Chevrolet 6/16 6 43 110 218 mi (350.837 km) 73.821
2004 June 27 Jeff Gordon 1st Chevrolet 6/13 9 43 110 218 mi (350.837 km) 77.456
2005 June 26 Tony Stewart 7th Chevrolet 8/18 7 43 110 218 mi (350.837 km) 76.445
2006 June 25 Jeff Gordon 11th Chevrolet 7/12 9 43 110 218 mi (350.837 km) 73.953
2007 June 24 Juan Pablo Montoya 32nd Dodge 7/14 11 43 110 218 mi (350.837 km) 74.547
2008 June 22 Kyle Busch 30th Toyota 6/14 5 43 112* 223 mi (358.884 km) 76.445
2009 June 21 Kasey Kahne 5th Dodge 7/20 10 43 113* 225 mi (362.102 km) 71.012
2010 June 20 Jimmie Johnson 2nd Chevrolet 7/14 12 43 110 218 mi (350.837 km) 74.357
2011 June 26 Kurt Busch 11th Dodge 5/17 12 43 110 218 mi (350.837 km) 75.511
2012 June 24 Clint Bowyer 6th Toyota 2/7 8 43 110 218 mi (350.837 km) 83.624
2013 June 23 Martin Truex Jr. 14th Toyota 7/19 12 43 110 218 mi (350.837 km) 76.658
2014 June 22 Carl Edwards 4th Ford 6/19 11 43 110 218 mi (350.837 km) 76.583
2015 June 28 Kyle Busch 11th Toyota 5/21 9 43 110 218 mi (350.837 km) 78.710
2016 June 26 Tony Stewart 10th Chevrolet 4/10 12 40 110 218 mi (350.837 km) 80.966
2017 June 25 Kevin Harvick 12th Ford 6/12 12 38 110 218 mi (350.837 km) 78.710
2018 June 24 Martin Truex Jr. 2nd Toyota 3/8 11 38 110 218 mi (350.837 km) 82.882

References[change | change source]

  1. Cook, Zachary (June 22, 2002). "Jayski's® NASCAR Sprint Cup News - Track News". www.jayski.com. Retrieved June 22, 2002.
  2. Cook, Zachary (August 19, 2018). "10 Wacky NASCAR Trophies". www.outdoorlife.com. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
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