Martin Truex Jr. scored his fourth Cup victory in eight races, holding off Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch over the closing laps Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.
Truex became the second driver to win consecutive Cup races at Sonoma, joining Jeff Gordon (who won three straight from 1998-2000).
Ryan Blaney finished third, followed by a career-best fourth place for Matt DiBenedetto and a fifth for Denny Hamlin.
It was the 23rd career victory for Truex, who has three wins at Sonoma. The 2017 series champion led three times for 59 laps, including the final 24.
Click here for the full results from the Sonoma race.
Click here for the full race report from Sonoma.
In the season standings, Ryan Newman moved into the 16th spot in the standings with a seventh at Sonoma, clinging to the final provisional playoff spot with 10 races remaining in the regular season.
Newman has a one-point edge over Jimmie Johnson, who finished 12th at Sonoma and slid a spot to 17th in the standings. Erik Jones (eighth at Sonoma) is five points behind Newman in 18th.
At the top of the standings, Joey Logano (23rd at Sonoma) leads by one point over Kyle Busch.
Click here for the Sonoma points standings.
Denny Hamlin rebounded from a shaky day in the pits to triumph Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway for his second Cup victory of the season.
Clint Bowyer finished second, followed by Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones and pole-sitter Jimmie Johnson, who scored his first top five since 10 months ago in the 2018 Coca-Cola 600.
All seven races this season have been won by drivers with Joe Gibbs Racing or Team Penske.
Click here for the race results Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Kyle Busch remained the leader in the standings with 310 points, eight ahead of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.
Kevin Harvick is the highest ranked winless driver in third.
Click here for the points standings after Texas.
RICHMOND, Va. — Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer will need to race their way into the next round of the playoffs in the most unpredictable race of the season.
Those four drivers are outside the top 12 in the standings after Saturday night’s race at Richmond Raceway heading into the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course race next Sunday.
Ryan Blaney is clinging to the final provisional spot at 12th in the standings, four points ahead of Bowyer. Hamlin is 29 points behind Blaney in 16th and virtually needs a win to advance.
Three drivers have clinched berths: Richmond winner Kyle Busch, Las Vegas winner Brad Keselowski and points leader Martin Truex Jr. (who will advance on points). Third-ranked Kevin Harvick, who is 56 points ahead of the cut line, is virtually safe.
Click here for the points standings after the second playoff race of 2018.
With 10 races remaining in the regular season and 10 spots still up for grabs, the points battle remains fierce in NASCAR’s premier series — and most of non-winners held serve Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.
There was only minor shuffling among those without a victory who still are vying for a playoff spot. Ryan Blaney (11th) fell two spots in the rankings, while Kyle Larson (ninth) and Aric Almirola (10th) each gained a spot.
But all still hold provisional playoff spots along with Brad Keselowski (fourth), Kurt Busch (seventh), Denny Hamlin (eighth), Jimmie Johnson (12th), Chase Elliott (13th), Erik Jones (14th) and Alex Bowman (15th). Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (16th) is 17 points behind Bowman for the final provisional playoff spot.
Sonoma marked Martin Truex Jr.‘s third victory this season. Other winners who have clinched playoff berths in the 16-driver field for the 10-race playoff that begins Sept. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano and Austin Dillon.
The last time there were so few winners through 16 races was 40 years ago. In the first 16 races of the 1978 season, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Benny Parsons, David Pearson and Darrell Waltrip had accounted for all of the wins.
Kyle Busch, who finished fifth at Sonoma, remains the leader in the 2018 points standings by 72 points over Kevin Harvick (second Sunday to Truex). Winning the regular-season championship results in 15 playoff points, vs. 10 for the runner-up.
Click here for the Cup Series points standings after Sonoma.
Martin Truex Jr. moved into sole possession of third place in the playoff points standings with a race win and stage win Sunday at Pocono Raceway.
With the six-point gain, the defending series champion has 13 playoff points, which rank second behind Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick (who are tied with 25).
Busch, who finished third, remained the regular-season points leader (624), followed by Harvick (537), Joey Logano (534), Truex (487) and Brad Keselowski (474).
The battle for the final transfer position into the playoffs remained tight as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. clung to the bubble spot, nine points ahead of Alex Bowman.
Click here for the points standings after Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway.