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Bowyer picks up 1st win of season at Sonoma

SONOMA, California -- Clint Bowyer raced to his first NASCAR victory on a road course Sunday, and first with Michael Waltrip Racing, holding off Kurt Busch at Sonoma.

Bowyer dominated Sunday's race, but defending race winner Busch was all over his bumper late.

A caution with four laps remaining set up a final restart and overtime finish, and forced Bowyer to earn the victory. He raced side-by-side with Busch at the green flag, but cleared Busch and pulled away for the win.

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.

“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. 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.

Only Busch 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, 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.

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Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 in Sonoma, California, Sunday, June 24. (AFP)

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