Kyle Larson/No.42 Target Chevrolet continued his NASCAR dominance Saturday with his second straight pole position in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Sonoma Raceway. His best lap was 1:15.177 at 95.295 mph. This is his fourth start at Sonoma, and his fourth career pole in 127 Cup races.
Larson’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Jamie McMurray/No.1 Cessna Chevrolet will start next to him, with a qualifying lap of 1:15.249/95.204 mph.
Third through fifth were Martin Truex, Jr/No.78 Furniture Row Toyota; Kyle Busch/No.18 M&M’s Carmel Toyota; and AJ Allmendinger/No.47 Kroger ClickList Chevrolet.
Larson was stoked, winning the pole at his ‘home’ track with lots of family and friends. His idea of celebrating is going to nearby Calistoga Speedway to watch Saturday night short-track racing. “It feels good. This is my home track, I grew up about an hour and a half from here. So, always love coming to Sonoma. It’s a fun place and our race cars are always fast. I felt like I’ve had a shot at the pole every time I’ve qualified here and just haven’t gotten the job done. Focused on hitting my marks today and messed up a little bit there on that run. Honestly, didn’t think it was that good of a run. I felt like I had less grip there, but we were able to probably make up some time in the braking zones and stuff like that and run a good enough lap for the pole, so it was pretty cool.”
McMurray said “It was a really good lap. The team is on a roll and it’s awesome. On my sticker run I missed Turn 7, so I knew that I had given up a couple of tenths probably in that corner. But on my last run, I did everything I thought really well. The No. 42 just put together a really good lap and was able to have enough of a cushion, he messed up Turn 11, but he had enough of a cushion there that he was able to overcome it. It was a good day though for our organization. Our cars have been so good this year and both teams have run so well and it has just continued this weekend. Congratulations to Mike Hull at Road America (IndyCar race),) who has been with Chip for 25 years.”
Daniel Suarez of Mexico was the top Rookie, qualifying eleventh in No.19 Stanley Toyota. This is his first time at Sonoma Raceway, his first Cup road race.
Suarez is one of four Cup drivers who are also running Saturday afternoon’s Carneros 250 NASCAR K&N Race. The others are Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney and Kevin O’Connell – who withdrew at the last moment. Harvick won the race in another very exciting, fun-filled race in one of NASCAR’s exciting Home Track Series.. Harvick said he ran it to have fun and to shine attention on the young up and coming drivers. And that he did – he raced hard against pole sitter, Rookie Will Rodgers of Solvang CA, who led much of the race and finished second.
Danica Patrick/No.10 Code 3 Associates Ford will start sixth, making it her third-best starting position in the Cup Series and the best start by a female at Sonoma Raceway. The previous best was her eleventh position last year and in 2014.
One of the long-time ‘Road Racing Ringers,’ Boris Said/No.33 Circle Sport Chevrolet may be the oldest driver, at the admitted age of 55. While he’s grateful to be running Cup still, at his age, he is pleased with all the young guns and said it’s time for a changing of the guard. This weekend’s crop has five drivers age 25 or younger, with the youngest two being 21, months apart – Chase Elliott and Erik Jones. Josh Bilicki/No.51 Marriott Chevrolet is 22, Ryan Blaney/No.21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford is 23, and Larson is 24. Ty Dillon/No.13 GEICO Chevrolet is 25.
Thirty-seven of the 38 entries qualified. Matt Kenseth/No.20 DeWalt Flexvolt Toyota eschewed making the run as he already was going to be starting at the back due to an engine change.
Sunday’s 110-lap race will start at noon local time/3pm ET and air live in FOX Sports 1 TV, the last of the FOX TV broadcasts for the season.