Found June 22, 2013 on
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Those who were surprised that Jamie McMurray won the Coors Light pole for Sunday’s Toyota Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway simply haven’t been paying attention.
With a lap at 94.986 mph (75.422 seconds) in Saturday’s time trials, McMurray edged pre-qualifying favorite Marcos Ambrose (94.924 mph) for the top spot in the first group-based qualifying format ever used in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series.
Both McMurray and Ambrose qualified in the final five-car group (No. 8), with Ambrose posting his lap first and McMurray topping him shortly thereafter. The Coors Light pole award was McMurray’s first of the season, his second at Sonoma and the ninth of his career.
The pole not only underscored McMurray’s road course credentials but also highlighted the improved performance of the entire Earnhardt Ganassi Racing organization.
“I remember sitting in here a year ago with (teammate) Juan (Pablo Montoya) when we made the announcement that we were going to run the Indy Grand-Am race, and we talked about everything that was going on with making our cars better.
“They’ve just done an amazing job. Juan and I were talking about it (Friday) between practices. The cars don’t necessarily feel better on the track, but the times are better in relation to everybody. Coming out here I was really confident, because every track we’ve been to we’ve had really good speed and we’ve run really well. We haven’t necessarily been able to get the finishes in the last 10 percent of the race, but it hasn’t really been anything that we’ve done wrong.
So I feel really good about our cars and just about any track we go to now.”
Carl Edwards (94.779 mph) qualified third from group No. 5, followed by Greg Biffle (94.772 mph) and defending race winner Clint Bowyer (94.737 mph). Series leader Jimmie Johnson will start 19th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 26th and Danica Patrick 31st.
Ambrose, who set the track record of 95.262 mph last year, said his car lost power coming to the green flag to start his first qualifying lap.
“In our case, the motor quit running coming to the green flag, so I lost all my momentum coming to the green flag,” Ambrose said. “I thought about bailing out of that lap and trying to roll around for a second lap, but I wasn’t sure about engine temperatures and the tires... but I just went for it.
“I pretty much lost my mind there. I was really mad… but it was good enough to get the front row, and I’m proud of that, but I’m disappointed, obviously, that we didn’t get the pole.”
The new group-based qualifying format produced on-track issues almost immediately. Roughly two minutes into the session for group No.1, Victor Gonzalez Jr. went off course in Turn 10 while running behind David Stremme, who was slow out of the gate to start the session.
Gonzalez slammed into the tire barrier, ripping the left front fender of his No. 36 Chevrolet. The accident stopped the clock on the session, which featured a five-minute allotment for each group. Qualifying resumed after track clean-up.
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Jamie McMurray summed up NASCAR's new qualifying procedure as "a success."
That's understandable. McMurray will start from the pole on Sunday for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 after posting the top time of 75.422 seconds (94.986 mph).
"I was fairly fortunate because I was the last car to go out in my group and when I left the pits I asked them where Marcos (Ambrose...
Jamie McMurray was the fastest qualifier for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma. McMurray will lead a field of 43 cars to the green flag for the start of the Toyota SaveMark 350K, the first of two road course races on the Cup Series schedule.
Qualifying was a little different this year as NASCAR decided to send the cars out in packs of five or six cars to speed up...
credit: Getty Images
On Sunday Jamie McMurray will be the first of 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers to take the green flag at Sonoma for the Toyota Save Mart 350k. McMurray was the fastest qualifier for the first road course race on the cup schedule.
Once known as Sears Point for the nearby Sears ranch, Sonoma Raceway was recently titled Infineon Raceway until the company elected...
SONOMA, CA – Jamie McMurray took advantage of the new qualifying format at Sonoma Raceway to put his No. 1 Cessna Chevrolet SS on the pole with a fast speed of 94.986 mph for Sunday’s Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. It was McMurray’s ninth Cup career pole, and the first of the 2013 season. He was also the pole winner at Sonoma in 2007.
The new qualifying format...
Clint Bowyer is living proof that NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers read each other’s press clippings.
Scarcely had Marcos Ambrose left the interview room Friday at Sonoma Raceway when Bowyer, during his own interview session, jokingly took issue with one of Ambrose’s comments.
“If you look down the sheet of people who can win, there’s at least 20 drivers that could win,” Ambrose...
It has been a trying 2013 so far for Richard Petty Motorsports driver Marcos Ambrose. During the off-season there was uncertainty whether Ambrose would return to the Sprint Cup Series or go back home to Australia. He came back, but the results have not been what he or his team expected.
He comes to the Sonoma Raceway looking to change his luck and make a run at a wild card spot....
SONOMA, Cali — Marcos Ambrose, driver of the No. 9 Stanley Tools Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports was fastest in first practice Friday at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, Cali with a speed of 94.049.
Juan Pablo Montoya was second quickest, with a speed of 93.890.
Casey Mears, Kurt Busch, and Jamie McMurray conclude the top five in speed. Speeds from this session will be used to group...
As Jamie McMurray turned a corner on the season with a string of
solid finishes, he picked Sonoma Raceway as an upcoming track he
was looking forward to racing.
Jamie McMurray won the pole for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 from Sonoma with a time of 75.422 seconds. Marcos Ambrose, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, and Clint Bowyer round out the top five starting positions. With 43 entries, no drivers missed the race. The event will be live on TNT at 3 PM EST.
There was a real sense of urgency in Friday’s first Cup practice, as drivers vied to be part of the final qualifying group on Saturday afternoon. Marcos Ambrose ran 12 laps during the session and posted the fastest speed (94.049 mph) on his 12th lap.
With the five quickest drivers in first practice comprising the final qualifying group, that group (No. 8) will include Ambrose...
Marcos Ambrose led the way with a lap of 76.173 seconds in the first practice for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 from Sonoma. Rounding out the top five was Juan Pablo Montoya, Casey Mears, Kurt Busch, and Jamie McMurray.
Juan Pablo Montoya