Bad luck struck early for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick and pole sitter Kyle Larson in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
The trio were entering Turn 11 at the conclusion of Lap 14 when Earnhardt locked his brakes and spun. He slid back into the middle of the lane, clipped the right rear of Larson’s car, while Patrick could not stop and hit Earnhardt in the middle of the right side.
All three cars suffered minor to moderate damage. When the race restarted on Lap 19, Larson had fallen back to 14th, Patrick was 24th and Earnhardt was 25th. Earnhardt also was penalized for speeding while exiting pit road. It was his sixth speeding penalty of the season.
Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski were at the front of the field on the ensuing restart.
Patrick was involved in another wreck not of her own doing on Lap 31. Kyle Larson pinched Dale Earnhardt Jr., who got into the rear of Patrick’s car, spinning her. Patrick’s boyfriend, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., could not avoid her car and sustained heavy, race-ending damage to his Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
“I tried to get down below it and hit it,” Stenhouse told Fox Sports 1. “It’s just unfortunate. … All in all, we were trying to bide our time and save our tires. Now we’ve got Goodyears left that aren’t going to be used.”
Patrick, meanwhile, asked over her team radio, “Who is that dumb?” She was later told it was Larson, but she didn’t reply.
The NASCAR community paid tribute to World of Outlaws driver Jason Johnson, who died after a sprint car crash Saturday night at Beaver Dam (Wisconsin) Raceway.
Johnson crashed after a restart racing for the lead. Witnesses said that Johnson’s car flipped and went through billboards outside Turn 3, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Johnson won the 2016 Knoxville Nationals. He finished sixth in the points last year in the World of Outlaws.
There has been a different winner in each of the last nine Cup races at Sonoma Raceway, site of today’s Cup race. Those nine winners have been Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick.
Will there be a 10th different winner at the road course?
Here is all the information for today’s race.
(All times are Eastern)
START: Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley will give the command to start engines at 3:01 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:13 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 110 laps (218.9 miles) around the 1.99-mile road course.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 25. Stage 2 ends on Lap 50.
PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 10:30 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 1 p.m. Driver introductions are at 2:20 p.m.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: Broadway Under The Stars in Sonoma Valley, Transcendence’s Meggie Cansler will perform the anthem at 2:55 p.m.
TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race beginning at 3 p.m. Coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 2 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.
FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for a high of 80 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.
LAST TIME: Kevin Harvick led the final 22 laps to win last year’s race. Clint Bowyer placed second. Brad Keselowski finished third.
STARTING LINEUP: Click here for full qualification results.
Here’s a look at who the NBC Sports staff is picking to win today’s Cup race at Sonoma Raceway.
Martin Truex Jr. He probably had the best car at Sonoma last year; his team closes the deal this season.
Kevin Harvick. No one can stop him on an oval or a road course.
William Byron pulls off a shocking win in his first Cup race at Sonoma.
Jamie McMurray seesaws through the field, but gets track position in the closing laps.
Justin Haley survived two late-race restarts to win his first career Camping World Truck Series race in the Eaton 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park.
His victory was aided by a push into turn one by rookie Todd Gilliland, who finished second.
Johnny Sauter finished third to score his 10th top-five finish in 10 races.
Myatt Snider and Zane Smith rounded out the top five. Smith was making his first career Truck start.
Click here for complete results.
Johnny Sauter maintained his points lead with a third-place finish, extending the advantage to 73 points over Noah Gragson, who finished 10th.
Brett Moffitt is third in the standings and has two wins to his credit.
Grant Enfinger and Stewart Friesen round out the top five
Hayley climbed from eighth to sixth in the standings with his win, but more importantly that victory gets him a berth into the playoffs.
Click here for the complete points standings.