Kyle Larson beat teammate Chase Elliott in overtime to win his second consecutive race, third of the season, and help Hendrick Motorsports continue its month of dominance.
Hendrick drivers have won four straight races and Larson’s Coca-Cola 600 win a week ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway made Rick Hendrick the winningest owner in NASCAR history.
The Hendrick group is on such a roll that maybe only two-time defending winner Martin Truex Jr. was considered a real threat to stop the streak Sunday, when NASCAR returned to California for the first time since 2019 because of the pandemic.
But reigning Cup champion Elliott was the favorite. He is, after all, the current king of the road with six victories on road courses including a victory over Larson two weeks ago in the rain-shortened debut at Circuit of the Americas in Texas.
Instead the win went to Larson. And even though it was in overtime, it wasn’t close as Elliott remained winless at Sonoma in five starts.
Larson, who had led just 11 laps in six previous combined races at Sonoma, won all three stages and led a race-high 58 of the 92 laps. The eighth caution sent the race to overtime for a two-race sprint shootout, but he easily cleared Elliott on the restart and pulled away to tie Truex with a Cup high three wins each this season.
Hendrick’s four drivers have combined for seven wins this season and Bowman at ninth Sunday gave them three in the top 10.
Elliott finished second as Hendrick tied Carl Kiekhaefer in 1956 with four consecutive 1-2 finishes.
Sonoma welcomed roughly 15,000 fans — the first time in 714 days spectators have been permitted at the raceway — for NASCAR’s first trip to California since the start of the pandemic.
NASCAR runs its annual All-Star event Sunday night at Texas Motor Speedway for the first time in race history.