SONOMA, Calif. – Jamie McMurray edged road course ace Marcos Ambrose on Saturday afternoon to claim the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
McMurray’s 75.422-second lap at 94.986 mph was just enough to give him his second career pole at Sonoma and first of the 2013 NASCAR season. Ambrose, who was fastest in Sprint Cup practice on Friday, qualified second with his 75.471-second lap at 94.924 mph.
“All around really good,” McMurray said after his qualifying lap. “Really speed for this team hasn’t been an issue. We’ve had plenty of speed. Really it has just been the last 10 percent of these races and getting that finish. Hopefully we can get our bad luck out of the way and have a really good weekend.”
Carl Edwards qualified third in his No. 99 Ford. Greg Biffle and Clint Boywer completed the top five. Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon filled the top 10.
Saturday’s qualifying session marked the debut of road course group qualifying in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Cars were assigned groups based on practice speeds and those groups each had five minutes to record a fast lap.
McMurray and Ambrose were both in the eighth and final qualifying group.
There were two incidents that delayed qualifying. The first came during the first qualifying group, when Victor Gonzalez Jr. crashed near the end of his warm-up lap. The second delay came after Martin Truex Jr. stopped on track with an electrical issue.