Date: June 21, 2014
Event: SaveMart 350k (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 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (74.354 seconds at 96.350 mph – new track record)
SHR Lineup: Kurt Busch (5th, 74.856 seconds at 95.704 mph)
Kevin Harvick (6th, 74.894 seconds at 95.655 mph)
Danica Patrick (11th, 75.083 seconds at 95.414 mph)
Tony Stewart (21st, 75.167 seconds at 95.308 mph)
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Saturday at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway by qualifying fifth for the SaveMart 350k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. Busch turned a lap of 74.856 seconds at 95.704 mph around the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course.
“It was a good lap for the Haas Automation Chevrolet,” said Busch, who won at Sonoma in 2011. “We prepared well for this race with a couple of test sessions and executed a good practice run yesterday. The lap time we ran put us P1 in the first practice. We knew we needed to gain a little more and today we got beat by a couple of guys that laid down really good laps.”
Qualifying consisted of two rounds. The first was 30 minutes, with every driver on the track vying to set the fastest lap. The 12 fastest drivers from the first round advanced to the second and final round of qualifying where they battled for the pole. Positions 1-12 were set by speeds set in the final round. The remaining 43-car field was set by speeds posted by those who did not advance into the final round.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Folds of Honor/Outback Steakhouse/Budweiser Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified sixth with a time of 74.894 seconds at 95.655 mph.
“That was a good lap for our Folds of Honor/Outback Steakhouse/Budweiser Chevrolet SS,” said Harvick, whose best Sprint Cup finish at Sonoma is second, earned in 2007. “Road course qualifying stresses me out because there are so many opportunities to make a mistake. Our first goal was to get through the first round with a solid lap, and we were able to do that. That second round was good for us, too. You always want to do better, but we can see the front, and that’s a good thing on a road course.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 11th with a time of 75.167 seconds at 95.414 mph.
“The GoDaddy Chevy was pretty good,” said Patrick, who will make her second Sprint Cup start at Sonoma on Sunday. “We only made one qualifying run yesterday, but it felt good in the opening round today. It just got tight in the second session and we ended up 11th. We would’ve liked it to be better, but we’ll take it. We’ve got a lot of folks from GoDaddy here tomorrow, so I’m happy we’re starting up front.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, qualified 21st with a time of 75.167 seconds at 95.308 mph.
“We needed more rear grip,” said Stewart, who is a two-time winner at Sonoma (2001 and 2005). “We’ve started worse here and still ended up with good finishes. Overall, our Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevy is good and I think we’ll be able to show that tomorrow.”
Jamie McMurray captured his 10th career Sprint Cup pole, his first of the season and his third at Sonoma by turning a lap of 74.354 seconds at 96.350 mph, breaking the previous Sprint Cup track qualifying record of 75.203 seconds at 95.262 mph set by Marcos Ambrose on June 22, 2012.
A.J. Allmendinger will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 74.557 seconds at 96.088 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Kyle Larson, Carl Edwards, Busch, Harvick, Ryan Newman, Brian Vickers, Paul Menard, Joey Logano, Patrick and Casey Mears. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.
Forty-three drivers attempted to qualify for the SaveMart 350k. All made the race since there are 43 starting positions in a Sprint Cup field.