Save Mart 350 – Sonoma Raceway
Sonoma, CA  June 9, 2024

RACE RUNDOWN: Austin Cindric started 28th and finished 22nd in an eventful 110-lap race at Sonoma Raceway in California. Following a win last week in St. Louis, hopes were high for the Mooresville, NC native heading into the second road course race of 2024. Stage 1 started off with multiple incidents that Cindric managed to avoid and brought the America’s Tire Ford home in the 14th position in Stage 1. Stage 2 would unfortunately see Cindric’s day take a downturn. A high-speed spin on lap 31 at turn one and multi-car incident on lap 40 would see any track position made up immediately lost again. Cindric would finish Stage 2 in the 22nd position. The final stage would see Cindric go for a third and final spin with three laps remaining. The America’s Tire Ford would soldier home for a 22nd-place finish. While certainly not the result the team wanted, Cindric and the No. 2 crew will look to rebound next week at Iowa Speedway – a track where he scored his first Xfinity Series pole in 2018. 

CINDRIC’S THOUGHTS: “Definitely wasn’t the day we were expecting and we had to fight through a lot of adversity early on. Track position is so important at these places – especially with how these restarts can unfold – but this No. 2 America’s Tire team didn’t give in. We’ll take what we can from today and start looking ahead to Iowa.”

RACE RUNDOWN: Ryan Blaney came away with a seventh-place finish Sunday at Sonoma Raceway, marking his fourth-career top-10 finish at the 1.99-mile road course. After starting third, Blaney raced inside the top-five for the entirety of the opening stage as the 12 team opted to stay out during each of the three cautions in the 25-lap segment, culminating in a second-place finish in Stage 1. Blaney took the green flag at the start of Stage 2 from row one and continued his battle with the No. 45 for the race lead, but three cautions within the first 15 laps of the segment halted any forward momentum. Crew chief Jonathan Hassler eventually brought Blaney to pit road for the first time with four laps to go in the stage while running third as all the leaders pitted within the same two laps in order to stay out during the caution, resulting in a 30th-place result in Stage 2. With few teams opting to hit pit road during the stage break, Hassler called the Menards/Moen Ford to pit road to top off on fuel before the final run of the afternoon while restarting from 29th. Despite battling issues with rear grip on the ensuing run, Blaney worked his way back into the top-10 by lap 70 and was scored third before making his way to pit road under green with 27 laps to go for the final stop of the day. Blaney blended back onto the racing surface in 19th, but eventually made his way into the top-10 with seven laps to go before picking up an additional three spots in the final four laps to secure a seventh-place finish.

BLANEY’S THOUGHTS: “Up and down day for our 12 team, for sure. I think the number of early cautions forced our hand with the strategy and we did a good job adjusting to that to keep us in contention in the final two stages. It’s tough coming back up through the field here but proud of the guys for staying on it all day to come away with a top-10.”

RACE RUNDOWN: After picking up his 31st-career Cup Series pole on Saturday, Joey Logano and the No. 22 Autotrader Ford Mustang led the first 16 laps Sunday at Sonoma but a multi-car incident in Stage 1 marred the rest of the afternoon, resulting in a 21st-place finish. Logano paced the field from the drop of the green flag up until the second caution of the day on lap 16 as the Autotrader Ford was brought to pit road under yellow for a four tire stop before lining up 21st for the ensuing restart. As the field made its way down through the esses, several cars went spinning in front of Logano and the No. 14 slid back across the racing surface, clipping the right rear of the No. 22. Logano made a pair of stops under caution as the 22 team worked to make repairs, culminating in a 30th-place finish in Stage 1. Logano made two more trips to pit road during the stage break to continue working on the right side before lining up to restart for Stage 2. Three cautions in the opening laps of the segment saw Logano jump to 15th in the running order by lap 40 and eventually made his way back inside the top-10 as the green flag pit cycle began in the closing laps of the stage, resulting in a ninth-place finish in Stage 2. Logano began the final stage from ninth after staying out under yellow and was called to pit road early in the run on lap 68 for the final stop of the day before ultimately settling for a 21st-place finish.

LOGANO’S THOUGHTS: “Unfortunate end to our weekend in Sonoma especially with the speed we showed the last two days. Anything can happen on these restarts and it was just wrong place, wrong time for us after trying to flip the strategy on everyone up front. Still proud of the effort from the 22 crew to keep after it all day long despite the early setback there.”
The Daily Downforce is Hiring Writers