Sunday, June 24, 2012

Toyota/Save Mart 350 Race Recap by Chief 187™

Clint Bowyer showed amazing presence of mind, focus, and determination when he drove his Toyota Camry to the checkered flag to win the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

Dominating by leading 71 of 110 laps, including the final 39, Bowyer proved that a dirt late model racer from the Midwest could tame a road course as well.

Bowyer fended off the hard-charging defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart.

Stewart who qualified 24th worked hard throughout the race to position himself in the Top Five. With fresher tires Stewart was able to get to second but found he did not have enough laps left to pass Bowyer.

This was Bowyer’s first win of 2012, the first win for Michael Waltrip Racing this season, and Bowyer’s sixth career victory. It was also Bowyer’s first win with crew chief Brian Pattie.

Tony Stewart racked up his third Top Three in as many races with Sunday’s second place.

Kurt Busch who sat second behind Bowyer for much of the race, settled for third, his best finish of the 2012 season. Brian Vickers, Bowyer’s MWR teammate, brought home a respectable fourth place finish. Jimmie Johnson was fifth.

Jeff Gordon was sixth, a great finish considering he ran out of gas earlier in the race. Greg Biffle took seventh. Pole sitter Marcos Ambrose, the driver most said would walk away with this race, wound up in eighth. A.J. Allmendinger was ninth and Joey Logano rounded out the Top 10.

Matt Kenseth, posting a thirteenth at Sonoma, retains the NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead another week, 11 points ahead of his teammate and nearest competitor Greg Biffle who ascends one spot.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. drops one spot to third due to his worst finish of the season, a 23rd at Sunday’s race. Jimmie Johnson sits comfortably another week in fourth. Tony Stewart jumped three positions to fifth.

Kevin Harvick’s 16th in the race kept him glued in sixth place. Clint Bowyer bounced up two spots to number seven. Denny Hamlin who took some spins in the race and finished 35th dropped three positions to occupy eighth. Martin Truex Jr. qualified well for Sonoma but finished 22nd fell two places to ninth. Sitting firmly in tenth for another week is Joey Logano.

The next stop on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit is the 1.5 mile tri-oval that is Kentucky Speedway. The logistical nightmare that was this event last year will hopefully be a distant memory as the action begins at 6:30pm EST on Saturday night, June 30th. Coverage will be on TNT for the Quaker State 400.

Enjoy the race and please remember to join me back here at this site for the Quaker State 400 Race Recap.

Candice Smith is a writer, columnist, and blogger as well as creator of the widely popular Chief 187™ Chatter. Her works have been featured under the pen name Chief 187™ around the Internet including a syndicated post within the Indie Republic Network where she has conducted in-depth interviews with musicians, Mixed Martial Artists, and other personalities as well as waxes poetic on myriad topics. Candice Smith is currently writing her second season of her original column “Why I Love NASCAR” by Chief 187™ on Skirts and Scuffs. Additionally, another of her NASCAR columns can be found at She also contributes articles and NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Recaps weekly at She began her Internet writing career at where she honed her blogging skills and reawakened her love of NASCAR. Candice Smith can be heard on air four times a week co-hosting motorsports programs on Internet radio as well as her own racing show “Drafting the Circuits” on She can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s. To find out more please visit

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