SONOMA, Calif. – Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 wasn’t the knock-down, drag-out free-for-all fans have come to expect at Sonoma Raceway in recent years, although it did peg the drama meter with race winner Tony Stewart’s last-lap duel with runner-up Denny Hamlin.
Third-place finisher Joey Logano has an explanation why drivers didn’t rough each other up on Sunday. Quite simply, they’re getting the hang of road course racing.
“In all honesty I think it’s because everyone is getting better,” Logano said after the race. “A lot of the crashes in the past have been because the cars are wheel-hopping into the corner and they can’t stop and they hit somebody. Most of the time that’s what it is. There’s still plenty of contact, but everybody has gotten better at this road course racing – not just drivers, but race teams and getting their cars better and their brakes better and the setups better.
“Not that the cars have become easier to drive. They’re still very challenging to drive here, but it seems like we’ve all gotten better and know how to handle a lot of the situations on the race track and all have learned how to race a little bit better out here. Like I said, there’s still plenty of contact and bumping and banging. My car is hit on each corner, but it definitely was a fun race and it’s always been a fun race here at Sonoma.”
In particular, Logano had fun over the final 14 laps when he charged from sixth to third after a restart and enjoyed a front-row seat for the decisive battle between Stewart and Hamlin on the final lap.