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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 26, 2005 3:35 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    110

  • Track Length:

    1.99 miles

  • Race Length:

    219.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $5,322,397

Drivers to Watch

Jeff Gordon Four-time series champion fell three spots to 12th in the standings after running 32nd at Michigan International Speedway, which he considers his favorite track; was his fourth finish of 30th or worse in the last five events; won this race last year and his four career wins on this track are more than any other driver; won here three straight times beginning in 1998 amid a NASCAR-record string of six consecutive wins at road course venues; three of his wins in this event came from the pole, including last year's triumph; became the first driver to reach three wins season when he took the checkered flag in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega on May 1 but has just two top-10s since; needs four more victories to match the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth on the all-time list with 76.
Jimmie Johnson Ran 19th in Michigan last week but maintained his standings lead for the 12th straight race; is 49 points ahead of Biffle and leads the circuit with 11 top-10s and seven top-fives; has 17 top-10s, including six victories, in the last 21 events dating to last season; led the series with a career-high eight checkered flags in 2004, when he came within eight points of a series title; also was the series runner-up to Matt Kenseth in 2003; has visited victory lane twice this year, with the most recent triumph coming in the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29; ran fifth in this event last year after finishing 17th here in 2003 and 35th in 2002.
Kurt Busch Defending series champion and Biffle's Roush Racing teammate climbed two spots to ninth in the standings following a 12th in Michigan last week; has just one top-10 - a ninth in Dover on June 5 - in the last six events after running in the top 10 six times in the first nine races; posted lone victory of the season in the Subway Fresh 500 on April 23 in Phoenix; best finish in four career starts here was a fourth in 2002; finished 36th in this event last year despite qualifying third.
Tony Stewart Climbed four spots to sixth in the standings after finishing runner-up to Biffle in Michigan on Sunday; led 97 laps but pitted for new tires with 30 laps to go and never regained the top spot; his third second-place finish of the season ended a string of three straight results of 15th or worse; seeking his first win since August 15, when he fought off stomach illness to win at another road course - Watkins Glen; making his first appearance on a road course since the 24 Hours of Daytona in February; has three top-10s, including a victory in 2001, in six starts here; despite his road course success, does not consider himself a ringer: "If you look at how many Nextel Cup races I've run on road courses (12), there are a lot of veterans who have run two or three times the amount of road course races I have. I don't think you can call me a ringer. I think you can call me a guy who is solid on the road courses because we've won at Sonoma and Watkins Glen."
Terry Labonte Two-time series champion, who retired from full-time competition last year, was named a one-time replacement for Jason Leffler in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Chevrolet last week; his 54 career starts on road courses are more than any other entrant in this event; has competed in five Nextel Cup races this season in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 44 Chevrolet, running a season-best 12th in the Pocono 500 two weeks ago; the 48-year-old has 22 victories in a career that began in 1978.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Struggles followed him to Michigan last week as he ran 17th in the Batman Begins 400, marking his fifth consecutive result outside the top 10; problems are likely to continue at Sonoma, where he has an average finish of 19.0 in five starts; his best finish here was 11th in each of the last two races and Infineon Raceway is one of only two active premier series tracks on which he has yet to finish in the top 10; has an average finish of 26.2 since Steve Hmiel replaced Pete Rondeau as his crew chief; is 17th in the standings, a whopping 503 points off the pace; is seeking his first win of 2005 after claiming a career-high six checkered flags last year.
Ryan Newman Won his series-high fifth pole of the season in Michigan last week, giving him an astounding 32 in 131 career attempts; set a career high with 11 poles in 2002, when he led the circuit with eight victories; has managed just two victories since, with the most recent coming at Dover on September 26; ran 15th in Sunday's Batman Begins 400, falling a spot to seventh in the standings; his 34th in Dover on June 12 ended a string of four straight top-10s; ran 14th in this event last year for his first result outside the top 10 in three career starts here.
Carl Edwards Emerging star on both of NASCAR top two series ran fifth in Michigan last week to maintain his position of fourth in the standings, 259 points behind Johnson; also is fourth as a rookie in the Busch Series standings; won the Pocono 500 under caution two weeks ago for his second checkered flag of the season; only he, Biffle, Johnson and Jeff Gordon have multiple premier series victories this year; will be involved in a grueling travel slate this weekend as he will qualify here Saturday, fly to Milwaukee for the Busch Series event that evening and make the return flight for Sunday's race here; has seven top-10s in his first first full season on this circuit after making 13 starts last season; one of four Roush Racing drivers in the standings top 10.
Greg Biffle Fought off assorted injuries suffered in a Busch race the previous day to take his circuit-high fifth checkered flag of the season in Michigan last week; took the lead when previous leader Tony Stewart pitted under caution with 30 laps to go and held on despite old tires; was his second straight win at Michigan, having taken the checkered flag in the GFS Marketplace 400 on August 22; has won six of the last 16 points races dating to last season's finale; closed within 49 points of front-running Jimmie Johnson; has five top-10s in the last six events and 10 overall - one fewer than Johnson; his 953 laps led this year are 312 more than his closest competitor; ran 13th in this event last year after fuel pump issues saddled him with a 37th in his first trip here in 2003.
Elliott Sadler Maintained his spot of third in the standings with an eighth in Michigan on Sunday; was his eighth top-10 of the season; has just one top-five this season, a second from the pole in the Food City 500 at Bristol on April 3; also ran second in the non-points All-Star Challenge last month; ran 10th here last year for his second top-10 in six career starts on this road course; best finish here was sixth in 2002; seeking his first victory since the Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway on September 5, when he clinched his berth into the inaugural "Chase for the Nextel Cup."