SONOMA, CALIF. – Kevin Harvick led a 1-2-3 podium sweep for Ford while proving that veteran experience still counts for something in NASCAR.
Harvick returned to victory lane for the first time this season with a dominating run Sunday in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. The former NASCAR champion came to Sonoma winless in 20 races since Kansas last fall and has been overshadowed in this season of NASCAR’s young new superstars.
But at a track where experience and ability can separate the field, it was Harvick and a bunch of veterans who led the way. It was the first win on the winding wine country road course in 17 tries for the Bakersfield, Calif., driver.
Sonoma was one of only four active tracks where Harvick never had scored a Cup victory. He did, however, win the K&N Series race at Sonoma on Saturday, and it may have given him some inside knowledge.
“It kept me from sitting around and trying to find something to do on Saturday,” Harvick said. “I think that was the biggest thing. I’m sitting around and there’s guys out here making laps and learning things, and I think that’s the most important thing is to never take for granted that you have to try to expand your knowledge and keep an open mind to making things better.
“To finally check this one off the list … being so close to home and having raced here so much, this was one that was on the top of the list.”
It was Ford’s seventh victory of the season. Ford won eight Cup races last season, and seven came exclusively from Team Penske drivers.
Clint Bowyer was second and Brad Keselowski third.
Pole winner and points leader Kyle Larson was never a factor and finished 26th.