McMurray repeats as Sonoma pole winner
For the second consecutive season, Jamie McMurray will lead the field to green at Sonoma Raceway.
McMurray was fifth-fastest in Round 1 of Saturday’s knockout qualifying and in the final minute of Round 2 he won the pole for Sunday’s Toyota/SaveMart 350 with a track record average lap speed of 96.350 mph.
The previous record of 95.262 mph was set by Marcos Ambrose in 2012.
“The last segment was really good. I put together a really smooth lap on the last run and it was really quick around the corners,” McMurray said. “Our cars are really good right now. I feel really good about our entire program right now.”
The pole is the first this season for McMurray, 10th of his career and third at Sonoma (his other came in 2007.
A.J. Allmendinger will start second, Kyle Larson third, Carl Edwards fourth and Kurt Busch fifth. Series points leader Jeff Gordon will line up 15th.
Stewart got angry with Larson near the end of last Sunday’s race at Michigan, when Larson blocked him on the track to prevent Stewart from completing a pass.
“On a restart, he swerves over to block us and puts a big hole in the nose that we’ve got to come in and fix,” Stewart said. “By the time we get it fixed, we’re buried so far back at the end of a race like that, we couldn’t do anything.
“He’ll either slow down enough and think about what he’s doing or he’ll be forced in a situation where he’ll have time to think about it and they’ll still be cars on the race track.”
Fans can find a text-to-win code at Kangaroo Express stores across the Southeast, which provides the chance to win the grand prize as well several other prizes until the end of August.
Three things to watch
1. Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won five consecutive races and the organization is looking to tie the NASCAR “modern era” record of six set in 2007 (also by Hendrick).
2. There have been nine different winners at Sonoma in the last nine races and there are plenty of candidates to continue the streak.
3. Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch are the only drivers with three consecutive top-five finishes at Sonoma.
Three picks for your fantasy racing team:
A.J. Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick