By: Becca Cottingham Quimby
Headline Photo Courtesy: NASCAR Twitter Page
We head to wine country and the beautiful road course of the Sonoma race track. We have Hendrick teammates on the front row that will lead us to the green flag. Bubba Wallace will bring out the caution at lap eleven as something failed internally in the car. You could see the fluid leaving out the exhaust pipe on the car. We will get back to racing with just over ten laps to go. Erik Jones will go around after having the handling in his car leaving him. He will go off track and will have to get the car re-fired. Over half the field will come down pit road just before pit road closing while Kyle Larson will stay out. Kyle Larson and the team seem to be on the same strategy as last year to possibly win this event. We will have to see how this plays out for him and the team. Kyle Larson will win stage one.
Chase Elliott will bring us back to green for stage two as his team was one of the fastest crews during the last pit stops at the end of stage one. Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney had issues and contact. Denny did radio in that he was sorry for the contact. Kyle Larson being back in dirty air is still making moves. This has been difficult but he made it up to thirteen before pitting. This round of pitting caused several issues. Two penalties were called one for Chase Elliott pitting outside of his box which could have been much worse if it had resulted in a loose wheel. The second is on Chris Buescher for throwing a fuel can. Joey Logano’s team decided to stay out to get stage points and playoff points. Joey Logano will win stage two.
Daniel Suarez will bring us to green for the third stage. There were multiple reports of tire issues. The tires with almost a full run of tires were blistering. Most teams have at least one or two sets of sticker tires to go on the car if need be for the drivers. Lap forty will put them within the fuel window. NASCAR re-reviewed Chris Buescher’s penalty and they rescinded this penalty. Chase Elliott since he was not able to serve his pass-through penalty had to start at the end of the longest line. We do have an issue with Tyler Reddick. This also includes contact with Josh Bilicki. Tyler states something broke, and he will go to the garage for repairs. Pit stops were another issue and Kyle Larson will bring out a caution as he loses a tire. This will result in a costly penalty for the team. We will get back to green flag racing and our top drivers all need a win to attempt to get into the playoffs. They are all going to have to race hard to attempt to win this race. Chris Buescher makes moves and will set his sights on Daniel Suarez. He will attempt to take the lead from Daniel Suarez and he gets close a couple of times but does not have enough in his car. Daniel will eventually get roughly a four-second lead over Chris. This will allow Daniel to run his race and secure his first unofficial win.