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Martin Truex Jr. captures opening stage at Sonoma Raceway, 11th stage victory of year

AUTO: JUN 23 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series - Toyota/Save Mart 350

SONOMA, CA - JUNE 23: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (78) goes into turn 4 during practice at the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series- Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma,CA on June 23rd, 2017 (Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Martin Truex Jr. led eight laps, including the final three, to win Stage 1 of the NASCAR Cup race at Sonoma Raceway.

It is his 11th stage win of the season, which leads all drivers. He’s won the first stage in three of the last four races.

After a flurry of pit stops in the final laps of the stage, the top 10 were Truex, AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer.

Daniel Suarez pitted on Lap 3 after he flat-spotted his tires entering Turn 11. The same happened to Kyle Busch, who pitted on Lap 6. Busch was in 32nd to start the second stage after being called for a speeding penalty on his second pit stop.

The first caution occurred on Lap 14. Dale Earnhardt Jr., running in seventh behind Danica Patrick, attempted to pass Patrick as they approached Turn 11. He then lost control, sending his No. 88 Chevrolet sliding through the apron.

He slid back onto the course where Patrick ran into his right side. Earnhardt also clipped Larson.

Both continued on. Earnhardt finished the stage in 36th and Patrick in 37th.

The second stage is 25 laps and the final stage will be 60 laps.