BRIAN VICKERS/No.83 Toyota has the pole for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup race, with a time of 76.475/93.678 mph. The ten-turn road course circuit is 1.9-miles long in the NASCAR configuration. JEFF GORDON/No.24 Chevrolet still holds the Cup qualifying track record set in 2005 – 75.950/94.325 mph.
This was Vickers’ fourth Cup pole this season and ninth of his career, in 188 starts. He’s running his fifth race at Infineon Raceway. He said “We were really good in qualifying and in practice we were OK. If we can keep the car driving like it did in qualifying then I think we’ll be in good shape. Historically we’ll probably be fighting forward drive.”
Second and third fastest were KYLE BUSCH/No.18 Toyota and MARCOS AMBROSE/No.47 Toyota. Not a bad lineup for the race sponsor. Ambrose, who had been in P1 for a good part of qualifying, said The rear springs on his car “were so loose you wouldn’t even put then in your mattress.”
Fourth and fifth were current points leader, TONY STEWART/No.14 Chevrolet and KASEY KAHNE/No.9 Dodge.
With only two Rookies running Cup this season and one of them failing to qualify, that would make JOEY LOGANO/No.20 Toyota the top Rookie, in twelfth place. In an ironic twist, the pole sitter’s teammate, Rookie SCOTT SPEED/No.82 Toyota, was thirty-ninth fastest, but had to qualify in the top 36 to make the field…and failed.
BORIS SAID/No.08 Ford was the top occasional driver, in ninth place. RON FELLOWS/No.09 Chevrolet was the fastest road racing ringer driver in twenty-ninth place.
DAVID RAGAN/No.6 Ford, JOHN ANDRETTI/No.34 Chevrolet and DAVID REUTIMANN/No.00 Toyota were the three drivers in the field courtesy of Owner Points, in fortieth through forty second place.
The thermometer kept reading 73 degrees F for Qualifying, and the cloud cover had all but dissipated – but the cool wind made it feel chillier.
Meanwhile, in the NASCAR Camping World Series West field of 44 cars, Porsche factory driver PATRICK LONG of Thousand Oaks CA had a great debut by winning the pole position. His lap was 1:17.962/91.891 mph. A long-time road racer including seven years as the only American Porsche factory driver, Long is making a great start in stock car racing. He has run three Camping World Series East races this year, and this weekend is his first West series race – in No.9 AASCO Motorsports Ford.
Second through fifth in West were JASON BOWLES/No.6 Ford; current points leader ERIC HOLMES/No.20 Toyota; and Cup crossover drivers, JOEY LOGANO/No.11 Toyota and DAVID GILLILAND/No.45 Toyota.
The West field is 36 cars, so eight drivers failed to make the show including octogenarian HERSHEL McGRIFF/No 04 Chevrolet.
Long is very excited about stock car racing, and wants to do well. He wants to be known as a driver who can race everything, and feels being well rounded as a driver will overall make him a better driver.
The 27-year old freckled redhead is not your average stock car driver. He speaks four languages, has lived and raced abroad and has victories in every major (and minor) sports car series.
Long nearly won the Watkins Glen East race two weeks ago, was going for the checkered flag with two turns to go, and was ‘welcomed’ to the world of NASCAR with a bump into the grass. He definitely feels there is a different racing etiquette in the various series in which he races, and maneuvers in NASCAR would not be appropriate in sports cars. Long said he has had advice on such matters and others from road racers in NASCAR – Fellows, Said and SCOTT PRUETT – who couldn’t race at Infineon this year because he’s at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course racing with Grand-Am. Pruett and co-driver MEMO ROJAS/No.01 Chip Ganassi Racing Toyota will start on the front row for Saturday’s race.
Saturday’s 64-lap Bennett Lane Winery 200 by Supercuts NASCAR Camping World Series West race will start at 12:30 PM local time.