Sonoma road-course ringer report
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images
A.J. Allmendinger races rookie Kyle Larson early in Sunday’s race. Allmendinger led a race high 35 laps, but damage in a late race scuffle relegated the driver to 37th, two laps down.
Sunday’s race at Sonoma Raceway featured five drivers in the field known for their road racing talent.
Below is a breakdown of those drivers and their race weekend.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose
Arguably the most notable ringer in the field, Ambrose started his day from the 23rd starting position, the deepest he’s qualified at the racetrack in seven attempts.
Ambrose worked his way through traffic and grabbed the lead on a restart from Clint Bowyer with 31 laps to go.
Ambrose led five laps, but eventually faded to eight place finish.
“[The car] was a handful,” Ambrose said post-race to TNT Sports. “I was hanging on to it all day.”
Ambrose climbed to 21st in points after his top-ten finish, 22 points outside the Chase cutoff.
No. 32 Boris Said
Boris Said made his first start of 2014 for Go FAS Racing Sunday at Sonoma. Said, a past pole sitter at the track, qualified 41st for the race.
Said became the first driver to fall a lap down before the first round of green flag pit stops.
Said, who has scored five top-ten finishes in 14 starts at the track, finished one lap down in 35th.
No. 33 Alex Kennedy
Making his second start in three races for Circle Sport Racing, Aztec, New Mexico’s Alex Kennedy ran his second career race at Sonoma Raceway.
Kennedy was 38th and 39th respectively in the first two practices Friday, and qualified 36th for Sunday’s race.
Kennedy dropped a lap down before the halfway mark of the race. Kennedy ultimately finished 39th, six laps down.
“The rear end gear blew up with two to go,” Kennedy said on Facebook. “Disappointing day for sure.”
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger
Starting on the outside front row, Allmendinger kept pace with pole sitter Jamie McMurray in the opening laps, and took the lead on lap nine.
With 25 laps to go, Allmendinger was involved in an on-track incident with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brian Vickers, forcing him to pit under green to fix left-front damage.
Allmendinger would finish the race 37th, two laps down, at a track he and his JTG-Daugherty team tested at earlier in the month.
No. 66 Tomy Drissi
Running in Joe Nemechek’s absence for a second straight year, Drissi qualified 43rd for the event.
The 55-year-old road specialist anchored the field in final practice, and never cracked the top-35 in the race.
In his fourth career start, Drissi finished 38th, two laps down. Drissi tied his career best finish.