Sonoma Raceway Announces Top-10 NASCAR Cup Series Moments
The NASCAR Cup Series debuted in Sonoma in 1989. Since then, the series has featured many wild rides and exciting finishes on its serpentine road course.
Listed below are the top-10 moments, as ranked by raceway staff, from NASCAR's first 30 visits to wine country:
- May 7, 1995: Dale Earnhardt wins his only NASCAR road-course race at then-Sears Point Raceway after passing Mark Martin in the Carousel (Turn 5-6) with less than 10 laps remaining.
- June 7, 1992: Ernie Irvan claims his first Sonoma victory in the Save Mart Supermarkets 300. Irvan was black-flagged at the start after crossing the starting line ahead of pole winner Ricky Rudd, but came back to pass 41 cars to take the checkered flag.
- June 25, 2006: Jeff Gordon captures his fifth NASCAR Cup Series win in Sonoma, a track record. Gordon maintains the track record for most laps lead by a race winner in a single race (92 laps, 2004) and most pole positions (five).
- June 26, 2016: Tony Stewart claims the last victory of his NASCAR Cup Series career with a last-lap pass of Denny Hamlin in the hairpin at Turn 11. It marked his third Sonoma Raceway win and snapped an 84-race winless streak.
- May 15, 1994: Derrike Cope and John Krebs were involved in a horrific crash in Turn 5 in 1994. After making contact, the two drivers slammed into the tire barrier and both went airborne, Krebs was launched out of the racetrack. Both drivers were uninjured.
- June 28, 2015: Kyle Busch claims his second Sonoma victory en route to his first NASCAR Cup Series championship. It was Busch's first victory of the year after missing 11 races due to injuries sustained in an XFINITY Series crash in Daytona.
- June 20, 2010: Marcos Ambrose seemingly had victory well in-hand, but the Australian driver stalled his car heading up to Turn 2 while trying to save fuel under caution late in the race. That allowed Jimmie Johnson to overtake the lead and cruise to his first NASCAR Cup Series road-course win.
- June 26, 2011: After Tony Stewart spun Brian Vickers in Turn 11 earlier in the race, Vickers retaliated by sending Stewart into the tire pack at Turn 11, leaving the No. 14 propped on the tire wall at the hairpin. Afterward, Stewart said he spun Vickers for blocking and he was expecting the retaliation.
- June 11, 1989: Ricky Rudd wins the inaugural Winston Cup Series race at then-Sears Point Raceway, beating Rusty Wallace by just 1.1 seconds after battling back and forth through the corners. Bill Elliott was third and Dale Earnhardt fourth.
10. June 9, 1991: Ricky Rudd crosses the finish line first, but Davey Allison is declared the winner after Rudd was assessed a penalty 2 ½ hours after the race. Rudd bumped Allison on lap 73 of the 74-lap race and was shown the black flag. Allison got the checkers.