Montoya's still hoping that the personnel changes the team instigated last summer will trigger a revival for his Cup fortunes. Ironically, one of those changes was to oust Montoya's crew chief Brian Pattie, who went on to find a new job at Michael Waltrip Racing. Specifically, he was in victory lane at Sonoma as Clint Bowyer's crew chief.
"We are a place for refugees," chuckled Bowyer, referring both to Pattie's situation and his own after the shock of contract renegotiations at his old team breaking down and leaving him with an uncertain future in NASCAR.
“Basically I kind of lost my ride at RCR, walked into a new program with a lot of unknowns," said Bowyer. "It was very nerve-racking times in the winter time!" But it had paid off, with victory for Bowyer and MWR already in just their 16th outing together.
"I'm proud of everybody at MWR for making this happen. What a wonderful opportunity at this stage in my career to make this jump and make it work," said Bowyer, drinking up the success under the Californian sunshine. "I'm super excited for everybody involved to be in Victory Lane with this group so early in the season. It's a dream come true."
In a very close battle to make it into the Chase post-season battle for the Sprint Cup, the win is hugely significant and bumps Bowyer up two spots to seventh place: the top ten make the Chase, together with the next two drivers with the most wins from positions 11 to 20, making Bowyer's visit to victory lane at Sonoma doubly significant.
Matt Kenseth continues to lead the points despite finishing outside the top ten, with Greg Biffle bouncing back up to second place 11pts back as a result of Dale Earnhardt's late-race crash.
Full race results and Saturday practice times
available, as well as full NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points standings