Date: June 22, 2013
Event: Toyota/SaveMart 350k Qualifying (Round 16 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (10-turn, 1.99-mile road course)
Pole Winner: Jamie McMurray of Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (75.422 seconds at 94.986 mph)
SHR Lineup: Tony Stewart (11th, 76.010 seconds at 94.251 mph)
Ryan Newman (30th, 76.878 seconds at 93.187 mph)
Danica Patrick (31st, 76.922 seconds at 93.133 mph)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, led the three-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Saturday at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway by qualifying 11th for the Toyota/SaveMart 350k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. Stewart turned a lap of 76.010 seconds at 94.251 mph around the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course.
“We’re definitely getting better,” said Stewart, who is a two-time winner at Sonoma (2001 and 2005). “We’ve made gains each time we’ve been on the racetrack. And compared to where we’ve started in years past, we’re actually ahead of the game this year. Steve (Addington, crew chief) and the guys have worked really hard – here and at the shop – to bring a Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevy that we’ll be able to work with on Sunday.”
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation 30th Anniversary Chevrolet SS for SHR, will start 30th after posting a lap of 76.878 seconds at 93.187 mph.
“Our Haas Automation 30th Anniversary Chevy has been too loose since we unloaded here, and that was still the case out there today,” said Newman, who has a lap completion rate of 100 percent in his 11 Sprint Cup starts at Sonoma. “We’ve got our work cut out for us tomorrow because we have a hole, but I know Matt (Borland, crew chief) and the guys will have a good strategy for us in the race.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 31st after clocking in at 76.922 seconds at 93.133 mph.
“We picked up from practice,” said Patrick, who will make her 26th career Sprint Cup start on Sunday, but her first at Sonoma. “It was loose, especially in the faster part of the course. But we improved from yesterday and the GoDaddy guys have worked really hard this weekend. Hopefully we have a good day on Sunday.”
Jamie McMurray captured his ninth career Sprint Cup pole, his first of the season and his second at Sonoma by turning a lap of 75.422 seconds at 94.986 mph.
Marcos Ambrose will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 75.471 seconds at 94.924 mph. Carl Edwards was third (75.586 seconds at 94.779 mph), while Greg Biffle (75.592 seconds at 94.772 mph) and defending Sonoma race winner Clint Bowyer (75.620 seconds at 94.737 mph) rounded out the top-five.
Forty-three drivers attempted to qualify for the Toyota/SaveMart 350k. All made the race since there are 43 starting positions in a Sprint Cup field.
Chevrolet took the top spot among manufacturers via McMurray’s pole run. Ford was next-best at the hands of Ambrose. Toyota was the third-fastest make thanks to Bowyer.
The Toyota/SaveMart 350k gets underway at 3 p.m. EDT Sunday with live coverage provided by TNT beginning with a pre-race show at 2 p.m.