McMurray Speeds To Pole At Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif. – Jamie McMurray’s drive for his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win on a road course got off to a great start on Saturday.
McMurray won the pole for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, beating A.J. Allmendinger to the top spot by two tenths of a second.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver’s No. 1 Chevy posted a lap of one minute, 14.35 seconds in the final round of qualifying to grab his first pole of the season and the 10th of his Sprint Cup career.
Three of McMurray’s poles have come on road courses. It’s the second straight year he won the pole at Sonoma.
“Our car, all weekend long, has not been good on the first lap,” McMurray said, “but on the second lap we’re much better. Our car was really good on the long run. Track position is important.”
Rookie Kyle Larson, Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five. Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Brian Vickers, Paul Menard and Joey Logano completed the top 10.
“We were in position to have it,” Allmendinger said. “Jamie put in a heck of a lap. We put in a good lap, and we’ve got a clean view when we go green.”
Hendrick Motorsports, which has won the past five Sprint Cup races, didn’t have a single member of its four-car team in the final round of qualifying.
Jeff Gordon (15th) paced Hendrick’s camp, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. (17th), Jimmie Johnson (22nd) and Kasey Kahne (30th).
Earnhardt said road-course ringer Tomy Drissi blocked him on his qualifying lap, costing him more than half a second.