Sonoma, Calif- The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualified for tomorrow’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 this morning and many of the favorites didn’t end up where they expected. Entering this weekend, names like Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr., Marcos Ambrose and Clint Bowyer were listed as four of the favorites to take the checkered flag in Sunday’s race.
Neither them nor Tony Stewart or Jimmie Johnson advanced out of the first 30-minute qualifying round on Saturday as they will start midpack for tomorrow’s race. That puts them behind the eight ball on Sunday as pit strategy is going to be key for them as passing is hard on such a narrow track.
Gordon, was the best of the six in the qualifying session as he will start 15th tomorrow. Last year’s winner Truex Jr. will roll his No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet off 18th. Stewart, Johnson, Ambrose and Bowyer will start 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 25th respectively.
For Amborse and Bowyer, that’s very odd to see them this far back. This is Ambrose’s best shot at winning and making the Chase and Bowyer was first and third in both practice sessions on Friday. For him to have that quick of a car but starting 25th is very strange.
All of this should make tomorrow’s race even more interesting. It’s going to be fun to see if those drivers can work their way through the field tomorrow afternoon at the 1.9-mile road course in Northern California.
Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. He’s covered both NASCAR and IndyCar action since 2010 and has been credentialed to many races around the country. He’s also recognized as an accredited member of the media by both NASCAR and IndyCar. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru
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