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Last Updated Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 5:27 pm, EDT

Dodge/Save Mart 350

Status: Final Infineon Raceway

Race Capsule

Sonoma Raceway
  • What:

    Race 16 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, CA

  • When:

    June 27, 2004 4:10 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    110

  • Track Length:

    1.99 miles

  • Race Length:

    219.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $5,278,329

Drivers to Watch

Jeff Gordon Transmission problems last weekend added to his prolonged slump, relegating him to a 33rd at Infineon Raceway; was his fifth finish of 30th or worse in the last six events and dropped him two spots to 14th in the standings; the four-time series champion is 414 points off the pace; has dominated restrictor-place races of late, winning the Aaron's 499 at Talladega on May 1 and the season-opening Daytona 500; has won this race three times, including last year; looking to join Cale Yarborough as the only driver to win three straight races at Daytona and the late Dale Earnhardt as the only driver to win three restrictor-plate races in one season; is second on the circuit with three victories this season but has only three other top-10s; hoping to rebound from recent woes here: "We just need to get things turned around right now, whether it's winning or finishing in the top five. We've had a rough stretch recently - some of it within our control and some of it out of our control - and we need to get back on track."
Kurt Busch Defending series champion finished third at Infineon Raceway last week for his first top-five since winning the Subway Fresh 500 in Phoenix on April 23; had finished 12th or worse in five of the previous six races entering Sonoma; climbed a spot to eighth in the standings, 272 behind the pace set by Roush Racing teammate Biffle; began the season with three consecutive finishes of third or better, including a second in the Daytona 500; ran fourth in this race last year among his four top-fives in nine career starts here.
Mark Martin Four-time series runner-up is fifth in the standings in his final full season on the circuit; ran 15th in Sonoma last week, ending a string of three straight top-10s; is seeking his first points victory since June 6, 2004 at Dover; won the non-points Nextel All-Star Challenge last month; also in search of his first win in 41st career start on this track; best finish here was a third in the 1995 Daytona 500; ran sixth in this year's Daytona 500 among his eight top-10s this season; has two victories in 70 career restrictor-plate starts - both at Talladega; ran sixth in this event last year.
Matt Kenseth After back-to-back finishes outside the top 20, the 2003 Winston Cup champion finished eighth in the DHL 400 and remains in third place in the standings; has not finished among the top 10 in four career starts at Sonoma, but last year produced his best results here by starting fourth and finishing 14th; "We've done a lot better as a team at road course races since I changed my mental approach to these type places," Kenseth said. "I used to hate going to them and I think it affected our results. When we buckled down and took a focused approach to them, I had my two best road course finishes last year, including a top-10 at Watkins Glen in August. I'm glad we tested a road course earlier this year."
Greg Biffle Took over the standings lead for the first time in his career after running 14th in Sonoma last week; is 22 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson, who ran 36th last week; leads the circuit with five checkered flags in 2005 after collecting just three in 78 career starts entering the season; most recent victory came in the Batman Begins 400 at Michigan two weeks ago; has led a series-high 961 laps and is second to Johnson on the circuit in top-10s (10) and top-fives (6); finished 25th in season-opening Daytona 500 here and 31st in this event last year; his victory in this race in 2003 stands as his lone checkered flag in 10 career restrictor-plate starts..
Kevin Harvick Wore a Matt Kenseth shirt during the DHL 400 after he and the 2003 Winston Cup Champion each were fined $25,000 each and placed on probation until August 11 for a bumping incident during the Pocono 500 on June 13; finished 17th in the DHL 400 and fell one spot in the standings to 10th; finished third in this race last year in his third career start at Sonoma; "Sonoma is one of those places where track position is more important than anywhere else we go," Harvick said. "Basically, how it works is you work the race from back to front based on how many laps you can run. As soon as you can pit, you come in and pit, take your tires and stay out on the racetrack ahead of the rest of the field."; has finished 53 consecutive races, which is the longest active streak on the series.
Bobby Labonte Continued his climb in the standings as he finished eighth at Michigan and vaulted to spots to fourth, which is his highest of the season; the 2000 Winston Cup champion has top-10 finishes in six of his last eight races; has five top-10 finishes in 11 career starts at Infineon Raceway, with three of those efforts coming in his last four starts; his best result at Sonoma was fourth in 1998 and 2000.
Elliott Sadler Remained third in the standings following a sixth in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 last week; trails front-running Biffle by 177 points and Johnson by 155; was his second straight top-10 and ninth of the season, good for third on the circuit; best finish of the season was a second from the pole in the Food City 250 on April 3; also was runner-up to Martin in last month's non-points All-Star Challenge; has just five top-10s in 25 career restrictor-plate races; was runner-up in the 2002 Daytona 500 to account for one of his three top-10s in 13 starts here.
Tony Stewart Ended a 29-race victory drought by taking the checkered flag ahead of Ricky Rudd in last week's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma; became just the third driver not on Roush Racing or Hendrick Motorsports to win this year, joining Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne; climbed two spots to fourth in the standings, 198 points off the pace; has three runner-ups among his eight top-10s this season; has been snake-bitten of late at Daytona, leading a race-high 107 laps in the Daytona 500 only to finish seventh; also led the most laps (97) in the 2004 Daytona 500 but was runner-up to Earnhardt Jr.; confident entering this event: "I'm not sure I'd call ourselves a favorite, but I think all you have to do is look at our record and you can probably tell where we're going to be. Lately we've been pretty consistent about where we end up at Daytona."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Horrendous season continued in Sonoma last week, when gear problems led to an accident on the third lap and an eventual 42nd-place finish; was his fifth result outside the top 30 this season, compared to only three top-fives; one of those top-fives was a third in the season-opening Daytona 500 here; he and DEI teammate Michael Waltrip have excelled in restrictor-place races in recent years and have combined for five wins in the last nine events on this track; "Junior" won this race in 2001 and the Daytona 500 last year; seeking his first top-10 finish since running eighth in the Dodge Charger 500 on May 7; has finished seventh or better in last four starts here.
Ryan Newman Has a circuit-high five poles this year after leading the series in that category each of the last three years; maintained his position of seventh in the standings following a ninth at Infineon Raceway last week; was his fifth top-10 in the last seven events; his eight top-10s overall are tied for fourth most on the circuit; led the series with eight wins in 2003 but has won only twice since and is seeking his first win of 2005; has not raced well at Daytona since coming in seventh in the 2002 Pepsi 400; ran 20th in season-opening Daytona 500 and 12th in this event last year.
Robby Gordon The versatile Gordon won both NASCAR road-course races in 2003 for his only victories of the season; the Orange County native survived a challenge from four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon to take the checkered flag here last year; led 81 laps here last year; started fifth at Michigan International Speedway, but made contact with Brendan Gaughan's Dodge Intrepid early in the race, causing damage to both front fenders; his car was repaired, but Gordon never recovered and finished 33rd.
Kasey Kahne The rookie again will seek his first Nextel Cup victory after finishing second for the fourth time this season in the DHL 400; had an impressive race as he started 34th and was pursuing leader Ryan Newman when a caution flag came out on the final lap as P.J. Jones spun out. "If it would have went all the way (without the yellow flag) to the start-finish line, he would have beat me by a car-length," Kahne said of Newman. "They had us covered today."
Jimmie Johnson Relinquished the standings lead after a 12-race stay, falling 22 points behind Biffle following a 36th in Sonoma last week; was just his fifth finish outside the top 10 this season; began the season with seven straight top-10s, extending his streak to 13 in a row dating to last season; has been in the standings top 10 for a series-high 49 consecutive races; led the circuit with eight checkered flags last year and has visited victory lane twice in 2005, with most recent win coming in the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29; was runner-up to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Gordon in this event last year; ran fifth in the Daytona 500 to extend his streak to three consecutive top-fives at this track; still in search of his first career restrictor-plate win.