Jamie McMurray
Jamie McMurray. Photo by Lynne Huntting
JAMIE McMURRAY/No.1 Chevrolet has the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi Max 400 race at Auto Club Speedway, with a time of 38.86/285.068 mph, the only driver in the 185 mph/38 seconds area. This is his fourth pole position this year, second at this track, and seventh career top start.

It was smiles all around for McMurray after Qualifying. He was even more upbeat and cheerful than usual. “I worked really hard for my lap. The track has a lot of speed in it but it’s really slick. This is a really good race track. It’s a great place to be able to race on because it’s so wide.”

The top Chase driver was third-placed MATT KENSETH/No.17 Ford, behind ELLIOT SADLER/No.19 Ford..

Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson. Photo by Lynne Huntting

Fourth and fifth were JUAN PABLO MONTOYA/No.42 Chevrolet and KASEY KAHNE/No.9 Ford.

Fifth through tenth were MARTIN TRUEX, Jr/No.56 Toyota, GREG BIFFLE/No.16 Ford, points leader JIMMIE JOHNSON/No.48 Chevrolet, DALE EARNHARDT Jr/No.88 Chevrolet, and JOEY LOGANO/No.20 Toyota

Only three of the top ten drivers are in The Chase.

Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick. Photo by Lynne Huntting
DENNY HAMLIN/No.11 Toyota will start thirty-fourth. Other Chase drivers: CLINT BOWYER/No.33 Chevrolet-P13, JEFF BURTON/No.31 Chevrolet-P15; KYLE BUSCH/No.18 Toyota-P16; JEFF GORDON/No.24 Chevrolet-P17; CARL EDWARDS/No.99 Ford-P20; KEVIN HARVICK/No.29 Chevrolet-P21; TONY STEWART/No.14 Chevrolet-P22 and KURT BUSCH/No.2 Dodge-P38.

Both Sadler and Kahne are leaving Petty Motorsports at the end of this season. Sadler said he didn’t yet know his plans for 2011. “Hopefully, this (front row start) will help.We’re definitely working on some stuff, but nothing yet to announce or finalize. I’m definitely gonna do some stuff with KHI next year in the Truck Series.”

Patrick Carpentier
Patrick Carpentier. Photo by Lynne Huntting

The top/only Rookie, KEVIN CONWAY/No.7 Toyota was forty-first and made the field on Owner Points

The two drivers who failed to make the field were MIKE BLISS/No.55 Toyota and PATRICK CARPENTIER/No.26 Ford – both Go or Go Home drivers

Overall, all sixteen Chevrolets made the field, as did all three Dodges. Eleven of the 12 Fords will start the race, and thirteen of the 14 Toyotas will take the Green Flag.

The temperature was reported as 83 degrees F, but the breeze kept it from feeling anywhere close to that.