Saturday, October 16, 2021

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McMurray tops Sonoma qualifying

Jamie McMurray has won a pole at Sonoma Raceway before.

He vividly remembers that weekend back in 2007. But no so much winning the pole as he remembers what happened to him early in the race.

“I would guess at some point they’d show the highlight of me starting on the pole and running off [the track] in turn one on the first lap,” McMurray said about that day in 2007.

“I remember that day and I remember worrying the whole night about wanting to lead that first lap.”

McMurray will be in that same position on Sunday as he won the pole for the Toyota Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway after beating out Marcos Ambrose and Carl Edwards for the top-spot.

“I was just getting up to speed there, just rolling around trying to save tires….I hammered down coming off turn-12 and the engine just caught off and I lost all of my momentum coming to the green,” Ambrose said about his second-place lap which he was puzzled as to why exactly his Ford shut off.

While one Amrbose was confused, McMurray was surprised by his lap.

“You base your lap on how it feels and then how much rev-limiter you hit with your shifting. I didn’t feel like I hit as much rev limiter as I did yesterday,” McMurray said.

McMurray’s lap at 94.986 mph was good enough to complete at lap around the 1.99-mile road course in 75.422 seconds which made him the first driver in Sprint Cup history to win a pole in the group qualifying format now used at road courses.

Groups were set based off practice times from Friday, with the slowest cars in the fast group and quickest cars in the eight and final group.

Saturday at Sonoma marked the first time this format was used in the Sprint Cup Series on a road course.

Toyota Save Mart 350 Starting Lineup 

  1. Jamie McMurray 
  2. Marcos Ambrose
  3. Carl Edwards
  4. Greg Biffle
  5. Clint Bowyer
  6. Matt Kenseth
  7. Kurt Busch
  8. Joey Logano
  9. Kyle Busch
  10. Jeff Gordon
  11. Tony Stewart
  12. Kevin Harvick
  13. Juan Pablo Montoya
  14. Martin Truex Jr.
  15. Kasey Kahne
  16. Paul Menard
  17. Denny Hamlin
  18. Brad Keselowski
  19. Jimmie Johnson
  20. Bobby Labonte
  21. Casey Mears
  22. Jacques Villeneuve
  23. David Ragan
  24. Boris Said
  25. Ron Fellows
  26. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  27. Jeff Burton
  28. David Stremme
  29. David Gilliland
  30. Ryan Newman
  31. Danica Patrick
  32. Aric Almirola
  33. Travis Kvapil
  34. Jason Bowles*
  35. Josh Wise
  36. Justin Marks
  37. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  38. David Reutimann
  39. Alex Kennedy
  40. Paulie Harraka
  41. Tommy Drisi
  42. Victory Gonzalez Jr.
  43. JJ Yeley

*Brian Vickers will drive car in race, staring in the back



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