NASCAR notes from the Toyota Save Mart 350

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The dust has finally settled from NASCAR‘s stop in Sonoma, California. While the race was uneventful for the most part, it was a thrilling finish. In years past, road course ringers were brought into to run these tracks. This was much to the delight of our Cup regulars. Most drivers dreaded these tracks. They found most of their day was driving back onto the racing surface, after running off or spinning out.

NASCAR notes from the Toyota Save Mart 350

But as the years have progressed, so have the driver’s talents. Today’s drivers are capable of winning on any road course they visit.  Tony Stewart has multiple wins in Sonoma.  This year being his last year behind the wheel, Stewart knew this was his best chance at a win, and it was crucial for his chances of qualifying for the Chase.

Although Stewart did not qualify on the pole, his car raced and handled well enough to come up through the field. With some good luck with a perfectly timed caution he found himself leading with a few laps to go. Denny Hamlin was hard charging and running a close second. He seemed to be waiting to make his move. That happened in the final lap but with a few corners remaining Stewart got back around to take the win.

An Emotional Win

Not only did this make for a nail biting finish, we were able to witness Stewart and his emotional victory.  With congratulations coming from many drivers and teams he was beaming when he climbed out of the car.

If you have followed NASCAR and Tony Stewart’s career, seeing emotion coming from this gruff driver is nothing new, but the emotions were not always pleasant ones.  A happier and fulfilled Stearat has been emerging and it is a wonderful change. He has had lots to be down about over the last few years, both in his on track results, as well as his tragic dirt track accident that left a young driver dead.

All true champions rise to to the top. From what is seen on his social media these days and his demeanor in the garage area, he is happy and smiling again. He will be missed next year.