Kevin Harvick wins at Sonona for 1st victory of season

Image via JR Motorsports on Twitter

"It was an awesome day", said Stewart-Haas team co-owner Tony Stewart.

"I like to be here (at the victory circle); I don't care in what capacity", said Stewart, whose team took the season-opening Daytona 500 with Kurt Busch at the wheel for its only other win this year. Daytona 500 victor Kurt Busch was seventh for Ford. "But still, all in all, a great day for us".

"We were hoping to catch a yellow (caution)", said Keselowski. Better still, he overcame adversity to do it, something the 88 has not managed much of this season.

But they also have a vast lead over the competition when it comes to stage wins with 11, the latest coming in Stage 1 at Sonoma Raceway. He's never been a flashy driver, but has never taken flak either. "You can't just be an aggressive driver to win at Sonoma - you also have to be a smart driver". By that time, Denny Hamlin was a distant second to Harvick and Clint Bowyer third. "I felt like we've had a couple of opportunities to get there, but just came up a little bit short, so this is worth the wait". I realize that I'm capable of keeping pace with nearly every vehicle out there. Brad Keselowski attempted to stretch fuel mileage.

A former Sonoma victor, Bowyer is still searching for his first win of the season but came close Sunday with a runner-up finish.

Truex moved past Harvick on the next lap and the two battled until the next pit stop. "What am I missing?"

Stewart-Haas Racing, which Stewart joined as a driver-owner in 2009, was long considered a one-horse town with Smoke serving as the only serious title contender.

Kevin Harvick and Will Rodgers talking on Saturday. If he brings Ford a title, it would be the first for the company since 2004. But with Stewart stepping away previous year, many pundits thought the team would lose a title contender in the No. 14 auto. Bowyer is 11 in the overall point standings.

The race's second stage featured a odd moment when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Danica Patrick, NASCAR's most-famous couple off the track, had a hard collision. "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". "I get to go to my track more".

What really got Harvick thinking about his performance on a road course came a few months ago when NASCAR seriously started to consider putting the new Charlotte road course as part of the playoffs. "I wouldn't want do anything else in life". Might we see Dale in a single race deal for the 2018 Daytona 500? "These cars are incredibly hard to drive but I think that's the way it should be".

Alon Day, a 25-year-old driver born in Ashdod, Isreal, made history when he started in Sonoma as a "road-course ringer" for BK Racing in the No. 23 auto. "My vehicle got hit on the sides a couple of time, the nose is broken off - it looked like it should at the end of the race". "So we gave up position at the end of the stages to save the auto for the final (Stage 3) run". I just wish I could run this race again I think I might have had better vehicle than driver today and I learned a lot.

"The EarthWater guys did an fantastic job", he added.

BK Racing is far from a juggernaut in the sport. Only ten races remain before the cutoff and ten drivers already have at least one qualifying win this year (Joey Logano's win at Richmond does not count toward playoff qualification because of post-race inspection problems). He finished 32nd out of 40. Neither Corey LaJoie nor Gray Gaulding would have competed for a top 20 had they been behind the wheel of the No. 23 on Sunday.

Day won the NASCAR Whelen Euro race in England on June 11 at Brands Hatch.

Jimmie Johnson, who won the second stage for his first stage victory of the year, finished 13th. You know, the 47 auto down there (AJ Allmendinger), I just didn't see him and knocked the whole front end off our vehicle. As a result of his outstanding achievements in NASCAR's Euro Series, Day has the unique distinction of being the first stock vehicle driver from outside of North America to be selected for the NASCAR NEXT program, an initiative to feature NASCAR's future stars.

There's still plenty of work to do, however, as BK Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports only awarded part-time rides to both drivers.

Five drivers made their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debuts on Sunday.