SONOMA, Calif. - Clint Bowyer knew he could get to victory lane this season, his first with Michael Waltrip Racing.
He just didn't think it would be on a road course.
Bowyer picked up his first win with his new team Sunday by holding off Kurt Busch on the winding 1.99-mile road course at Sonoma. Although Bowyer finished fourth three previous times on this road course, his background is on dirt tracks and this style of racing isn't his strong suit.
So the irony of winning Sunday wasn't lost on Bowyer.
"To have this dirt boy from Kansas at victory lane on a road course is big, trust me," Bowyer said. "I saw Jeff Gordon, he's sitting there on the wall, he's won this race many times, he's a champion of this sport and I just beat him. I passed Jeff Gordon, and you have no idea, a young racer from Kansas, you don't forget stuff like that."
Bowyer dominated by leading 71 of the 112 laps. Defending race winner Busch, in an unsponsored car, was all over the bumper of Bowyer's Toyota late and got a final shot at taking the win away when caution flew with four laps remaining.
But Busch had damaged his car with roughly eight laps to go, and he worried the entire caution period whether his Chevrolet was ruined and had no chance of catching Bowyer through the two-lap overtime sprint to the finish.
Bowyer raced side-by-side with Busch at the green flag and then cleared Busch and pulled away for the win.
"Kurt raced me clean. He bumped me and roughed me up but never did anything to jeopardize either one of us," Bowyer said.
Bowyer, who left Richard Childress Racing at the end of last season to join MWR, had to walk to victory lane to celebrate with his new crew after his car ran out of gas.
"I'm super excited for everybody involved," Bowyer said. "To switch teams like I did was a huge risk and a chance for me, and it was a chance to showcase my talents.
"I've had good teammates and good stuff before, but never like this. This is a young group, Michael stuck it out and I'm telling you, he's fixing to reap the benefits. He's worked hard."
It was a strong day all-around for MWR, which got a fourth-place finish from Brian Vickers.
Stafford Township, N.J., native Martin Truex Jr. led 15 laps and was running in sixth when the final green flag came out, but he was bumped by Joey Logano on the last lap, causing a flat tire that dropped him to 22nd.
"We ran a different strategy (three pit stops rather than two), and for a while there, I thought maybe this was going to be the NAPA team's day," Truex said in quotes posted on MWR's website. "It wasn't meant to be, but I am sure glad to see MWR come out on top.
"When we were coming to the white flag, I thought MWR was going to have three cars in the top 10. We got hit and it caused our tire to go down. I am not too happy about what happened to us. But there is a bright side to this, and that's seeing MWR in victory lane."
Truex dropped from seventh in the Sprint Cup standings to ninth. An eighth-place finish would have put him in fifth.
The Sporting News reported that Truex "grabbed" Logano during a brief confrontation after the race.
Earlier in the race, Logano also wrecked Denny Hamlin, his teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing - which also employs Truex's younger brother, Ryan, in the Nationwide Series.
"Good top 10 run today for the team," Logano posted on Twitter after the race. "Sorry about what happened with Denny and Martin."
22. (5) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 112, 106.6, 23, $111,844. Average speed of race winner:Time of Race:Margin of Victory:Caution Flags:Lead Changes:Lap Leaders:M.Truex Jr. 35-47M.Truex Jr. 72-73Leaders summary (driver, times led, laps led): M.Truex Jr., 2 times for 15 laps