Sonoma Raceway’s decade of parity marked end of Jeff Gordon’s dominance there

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If you want parity in NASCAR, then Sonoma Raceway should probably be your favorite stop on the Sprint Cup Series’ circuit.

In the last 10 years, victory lane at the 12-turn, 1.99-mile road course has been visited by 10 different winners.

This impressive streak began in 2005 with Tony Stewart’s second of two career wins at the track.

The nine drivers who followed were Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya with his first career Cup win, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Carl Edwards in 2014.

Of those 10 drivers, all but two (Kyle Busch, Montoya) are present among the top-10 driver ratings at the track in the same time frame. In their places are Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray.

This vast array of winners at the track wasn’t always the case.

At the time, Gordon’s 2006 win was an example of the rule of how races went at Sonoma. When he won that event after leading 44 of 110 laps, it was his second win in three years there and his fifth since 1998.

In those nine years, Gordon, who once resided in Vallejo, Calif., reigned over the road course with five wins, seven top-five finishes and five poles, which he won from three times. His other two results in that stretch were 33rd and 37th.

Gordon then went the next five years without leading a lap at the track while still earning a top-10 finish every time.

The last four years have seen Gordon narrowly recapture his Sonoma mojo, leading only 20 laps but finishing second in three races.

Sunday’s Toyota / Save Mart 350 will be Gordon’s last chance to capture the checkered flag in Sonoma. It also may represent one of Gordon’s best chances at earning a win before the cutoff for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which begins in September.

It is also Gordon’s last time to add to the nine track records he owns, including his 22 career starts. Gordon also has the record for poles (five), wins (five), top-five finishes (14), top-10 finishes (18), lad-lap finishes (20), laps completed, laps led (457) and average finish (7.995).

With those numbers, it’s hard to believe Phoenix International Raceway is the track renaming itself after Gordon and not Sonoma.