Eric Risberg/Associated Press
AJ Allmendinger (37th) was edged for the pole by McMurray, but that didn't seem to matter. Allmendinger led much of the early part of the race until he got tied up in a wreck late, thus derailing his chances at his first win of 2014.
Allmendinger has extensive road experience, which made him one of the favorites at Sonoma.
He told Jay Pennell of Fox Sports:
I don't want to walk into this weekend saying, 'If we don't win this race, then it is a disappointment.' We just need to have a solid weekend, and if we can run inside the top 10, good. And, if we can be inside the top five and have a shot to win it, then it's a great weekend.
It looked as if that would be the case. Allmendinger, Bowyer, Harvick and Matt Kenseth were just a handful of drivers who left Sonoma with busted-up race cars. Allmendinger told Pennell prior to the race:
I would be lying if I said I didn't come in here with the mindset that we have a shot to win this thing. But at the same point, the Sprint Cup Series every weekend, it is so tough now. It is a lot different than 10-15 years ago when I thought you looked at the series and said maybe there are five, or eight or ten guys at most that can win on a road course race. Now it is so deep and everybody has gotten so good at road-course racing in general.
Allmendinger will have to wait until The Glen to get another crack at the roads.