Today the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers took to the track for qualifying at Sonoma, where Jamie McMurray wins the pole for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 in the knockout-style qualifying. This is the second straight year McMurray will lead the field to the green in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Sonoma on Sunday.
This is the 10th pole position McMurray has won in 418 NASCAR Sprint Cup series races and his first pole for the 2014 season. McMurray has 3 starts from the pole at Sonoma in 12 races.
McMurray, driving the #1 Cessna Chevrolet, captured the pole position with a qualifying lap of 74.354 seconds or 96.350 mph in the second round of qualifying. McMurray broke the previous track record held by Marcos Ambrose dating back to June 24, 2012 at 95.262 mph. A.J. Allmendinger will start on the front row with McMurray after a qualifying lap of 96.088 mph.
“I was really shocked that I could run faster on our third run,” McMurray said. “We went faster every time we went out. We made a couple of changes to the car, and I’m not sure where the speed came from. But it was a really good lap.”
McMurray believes that the race will have a major difference to the previous years at Sonoma for the race. “I think you’re going to see more pit stops when the cautions come out, tires are so important, more important than ever.”
McMurray’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate and Sprint Cup rookie Kyle Larson will start third with a lap of 95.942 mph, this is Larson’s 5th third place start in 16 races. Carl Edwards will start fourth beside Larson in Row 2, with a lap of 95.857 mph, and Kurt Busch in fifth with a lap of 95.704 mph alongside his fellow Stewart-Haas teammate Kevin Harvick qualifying sixth on Row 3. Ryan Newman and Brian Vickers will start seventh and eighth respectively in Row 4, followed by Paul Menard, who qualified ninth, and Joey Logano, who qualified tenth starting in Row 5. Eleventh place Danica Patrick and Casey Mears qualifying in twelfth will start on Row 6.
As for the powerhouse of Hendrick Motorsports, who have won the last five Sprint Cup Series points races will have to work from the back of the pack to extend the winning streak to six. All four Hendrick drivers failed to make it to the final round of qualifying the highest of the four being Jeff Gordon qualifying in 15th, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 17th, with Jimmie Johnson starting 22nd and Kasey Kahne will start 30th at Sonoma.
Martin Truex Jr. who qualified in 18th position is the defending race winner at Sonoma will also need to came from the back of the pack along with some of the best road course racers in NASCAR with Tony Stewart qualified 21st, Marcos Ambrose qualified 23rd, and Clint Bowyer who qualified 25th, all four drivers are searching for a win that will get them into the hunt for the Chase.
The Toyota/ Save Mart 300 will be broadcast on TNT, Sunday beginning coverage at 3 pm eastern time.