Allmendinger On Pole For Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 At Sonoma Raceway

Allmendinger On Pole For Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 At Sonoma Raceway

by June 27, 2015 0 comments

Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images

SONOMA, Calif. – AJ Allmendinger, driver of JTG Daugherty’s No. 47 Kingsford Charcoal Chevrolet captured his third career Coors Light Pole Award in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Saturday afternoon at Sonoma Raceway and will bring the field down to the green flag for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350.

Allmendinger’s pole run was a lap of 74.385 seconds at 96.310 mph. His other two career poles came at Phoenix International Raceway back in 2010 and at Kansas Speedway in 2012. Allmendinger’s previous best start at Sonoma Raceway came last year when he started second.

“Honestly, just hard preparation from all my guys,” Allmendinger said. “What they’ve done to get this car ready back at the shop and the work that they did here at the race track to get it ready for practice today and then for qualifying today, they just worked so hard. We talked about it a little bit yesterday and the last six weeks and kind of the struggles that we’ve had and they guys really put their heads down and worked hard on this car. The next few races, our cars are really prepared.”

Starting second on Sunday is Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kurt Busch. The runner-up effort marks his eighth top-10 start of the season. Busch was ninth fastest in first practice and third in final practice. His last and only win at Sonoma Raceway came in 2011.

“There was a little apprehension coming in because we didn’t have testing sessions or any kind of shakedown sessions,” Busch said. “And so, to be outside pole with the Haas Automation Chevy, that’s awesome. That’s what we wanted. And now we’ve got all kinds of strategy plays to figure out now to get into race mode. So, we did our job. We’re on the front row.”

Rolling off third will be Joe Gibbs Racing’s Matt Kenseth. He has 10 top-10 starts this season and eight at the raceway. Kenseth was only 27th fastest in opening practice and 22nd in final practice. In Round 1, Kenseth clocked an impressive lap that put him eighth on the speed chart, just above the 12th place cutoff.

“Yeah, we kind of overachieved today,” Kenseth said. “We were really bad yesterday, we were really bad the first round. All the cars that went out earlier struggled a little bit except for a few of the real good cars. Made some adjustments and got really good our second round. The third round we weren’t as good, but still put up good speed. I’m pleasantly surprised and kind of confused as far as we’ve been off, but we’ll take that.”

Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ Kyle Larson will start fourth, but he broke the track record during the first round of qualifying. His record breaking lap was 74.186 seconds at 96.568 mph. Larson was 12th fastest in first practice and 15th in final practice.

“It was a better qualifying than I thought we might have,” Larson said. “ In practice yesterday we were okay in race trim, a little bit better in qualifying trim, but I didn’t think we were that good.  I was really shocked that I went that fast in the first round.  I think that was a whole second and a half quicker than I went yesterday almost.  I was really surprised about that because I didn’t think it was that great of a lap.”

Rounding out the top-10 was Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, Casey Mears, David Ragan and Brad Keselowski.

The Toyota/Save Mart 350 will air live on FOX Sports 1 and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Toyota/Save Mart 350 Starting Lineup:

1.) #AJ Allmendinger

2.) #41 Kurt Busch

3.) #20 Matt Kenseth

4.) #42 Kyle Larson

5.) #24 Jeff Gordon

6.) #15 Clint Bowyer

7.) #14 Tony Stewart

8.) #13 Casey Mears

9.) #55 David Ragan

10.) #2 Brad Keselowski

11.) #18 Kyle Busch

12.) #78 Martin Truex Jr.

13.) #48 Jimmie Johnson

14.) #19 Carl Edwards

15.) #11 Denny Hamlin

16.) #31 Ryan Newman

17.) #4 Kevin Harvick

18.) #1 Jamie McMurray

19.) #22 Joey Logano

20.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.

21.) #10 Danica Patrick

22.) #16 Greg Biffle

23.) #95 Michael McDowell

24.) #9 Sam Hornish Jr.

25.) #43 Aric Almirola

26.) #5 Kasey Kahne

27.) #51 Justin Allgaier

28.) #38 David Gilliland

29.) #35 Cole Whitt

30.) #83 Matt DiBenedetto

31.) #6 Trevor Bayne

32.) #27 Paul Menard

33.) #32 Boris Said

34.) #23 JJ Yeley

35.) #34 Justin Marks

36.) #33 Alex Kennedy

37.) #3 Austin Dillon

38.) #98 Josh Wise

39.) #40 Landon Cassill

40.) #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

41.) #7 Alex Bowman

42.) #46 Michael Annett

43.) #26 Jeb Burton

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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