NASCAR Sonoma 2014 qualifying results: Jamie McMurray on pole again

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

For the second row in a year Jamie McMurray led the way in NASCAR qualifying at Sonoma.

A year ago Jamie McMurray won the pole at Sonoma Raceway but was unable to carryover his qualifying speed to raceday, finishing a distant 25th.

Twelve months later McMurray again finds himself on the pole for Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350, having set the fastest time in qualifying Saturday. With under a minute remaining in the second of two qualifying sessions, McMurray traveled the 1.99-mile road course with an average speed of 96.350 mph to edge second-place A.J. Allmendinger (96.088).

"I was really shocked that we could run fast on our third run," McMurray said. "We made a change, but I'm not sure where that speed came from. That was a really good lap."

Despite never having won on a road course, McMurray has proven to be a prolific qualifier at Sonoma with three of his 10 career poles coming on the Northern California track.

"I'm excited, it is cool," McMurray said. "This is my third road course pole. That is pretty awesome."

Making his Sonoma debut, rookie Kyle Larson qualified third, and will share Row 2 with Carl Edwards of Roush Fenway Racing. Larson, a teammate of McMurray's at Chip Ganassi Racing, has driven an automatic transmission Chevrolet Camaro around the Charlotte area in recent weeks to improve his shifting skills.

"It would have been nice to get the pole, but Jamie was really fast," Larson said. "Good day. A lot better than what I thought I was going to qualify."

Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Brian Vickers, Paul Menard and Joey Logano completed the top 10. Danica Patrick will start 11th.

Hendrick Motorsports, which won the past five races, failed to advance any of its four drivers to the final round. Jeff Gordon was a team-best 15th followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. (17th), Jimmie Johnson (22nd) and Kasey Kahne (30th).

"Very disappointed to not have any Hendrick cars in the top 12, so something we are going to have to work on," Gordon said. "But I feel really good about the race. Our car has been really fast."

The biggest surprise of qualifying was the lack of speed exhibited by Marcos Ambrose. A noted road racer who is expected to challenge for the win Sunday qualified just 23rd despite making three attempts. In six prior Sonoma races Ambrose never started worse than eighth.

No driver failed to qualify with all 43 entrants making Sunday's race.

Toyota/Save Mart 350 starting lineup
Rank Driver Make Speed
1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 96.350
2 A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet 96.088
3 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 95.942
4 Carl Edwards Ford 95.857
5 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 95.704
6 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 95.655
7 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 95.616
8 Brian Vickers Toyota 95.574
9 Paul Menard Chevrolet 95.528
10 Joey Logano Ford 95.417
11 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 95.414
12 Casey Mears Chevrolet 95.327
13 Brad Keselowski Ford 95.617
14 Matt Kenseth Toyota 95.605
15 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 95.552
16 Denny Hamlin Toyota 95.479
17 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Chevrolet 95.461
18 Martin Truex, Jr. Chevrolet 95.451
19 Greg Biffle Ford 95.432
20 Kyle Busch Toyota 95.378
21 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 95.308
22 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 95.296
23 Marcos Ambrose Ford 95.247
24 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Ford 95.136
25 Clint Bowyer Toyota 95.044
26 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 95.028
27 David Gilliland Ford 94.992
28 Michael McDowell Ford 94.972
29 Aric Almirola Ford 94.897
30 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 94.865
31 David Ragan Ford 94.793
32 Cole Whitt Toyota 94.734
33 Josh Wise Chevrolet 94.568
34 Ryan Truex Toyota 94.562
35 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 94.491
36 Alex Kennedy Chevrolet 94.147
37 Timmy Hill Chevrolet 94.012
38 Alex Bowman Toyota 93.867
39 David Mayhew Chevrolet 93.741
40 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 93.498
41 Boris Said Ford 93.377
42 Michael Annett Chevrolet 92.282
43 Tomy Drissi Toyota 91.115

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