June 27, 1999. This was the date of the memorable NASCAR Cup Series Save Mart/Kragen 350 (now the Toyota/Save Mart 350) at Sears Point Raceway (now Sonoma Raceway) deep in Sonoma, California wine country.
It actually wasn’t Jeff Gordon’s win that made the race so memorable either, but rather the fact that there was not one, but two race-ending flips.
The first flip happened fairly early on during Lap 26, when Steve Park ended up drifting too far sideways into Turn 1, hitting the guardrail and doing one complete flip. Despite landing right-side up, Park’s Chevrolet was out of commission for the rest of the race.
The next flip happened around 70 laps later, when Ken Schrader spun out and hit almost the same exact spot in the road course as Park did. Unlike Park’s flip though, Schrader’s did not end quite as gracefully, and his car ended up landing on its roof.
Luckily, both drivers were uninjured, but it just went to demonstrate the treachery of Sonoma Raceway, specifically when it comes to that tricky Turn 1.
The most recent NASCAR race news to come out of the Sonoma road course actually had less to do with gnarly-looking flips and more to do with some helpful trickery as Martin Truex Jr. became the latest winner of the Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series Toyota/Save mart 350 thanks to a pit stop trick courtesy of crew chief Cole Pearn.
Truex Jr.’s cup series race victory saw his Furniture Row Racing Toyota just edging out Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.
So, while Truex Jr.’s big win was certainly eventful, it was quite flip-inducing as that high-octane race of nearly 20 years ago.