Apparently, starting on the pole last weekend at Michigan International Speedway suited Marcos Ambrose just fine, because a week removed from his first-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole, he did it again by turning a 75.203-second lap in Sonoma, Calif., on Friday to claim his second-straight pole starting spot, this time for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350.
“Now that I have a taste for it I think Kentucky will be about 175 mph and I will be gunning for that as well,” Ambrose said of going for his third-straight pole next weekend at Kentucky Speedway. “I am really thrilled for today. I put a lot of effort into this race and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports and the whole Stanley team have been rock solid behind me for the road course program.”
He’ll be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, who posted a 75.357-second qualifying lap on Friday.
At one point in the qualifying session, Roush Fenway Racing had claim to the top-three starting spots with Greg Biffle on the provisional pole, Matt Kenseth provisional second and Carl Edwards provisioinal third.
Jimmie Johnson, though, knocked them all down a knotch when he claimed the provisional pole, only to lose it to eventual pole sitter Ambrose. Johnson was shuffled back another spot, to third, when his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Gordon went out last in the qualifying session and claimed the second spot on the starting grid.
“I left some speed on the track in a few areas,” Johnson said. “We’ve really been struggling on comfort in the car today since we unloaded.”
By the end of qualifying, Biffle was moved back to fourth, Kenseth ninth and Edwards 11th.
A pair of Michael Waltrip Racing teammates, Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer, claimed both third row starting spots, with Truex turning in the third-fastest lap in qualifying and Bowyer fourth.
The Busch brothers, Kyle and Kurt, share the fourth row, with Kyle qualifying seventh and Kurt eighth.
Ryan Newman rounded out the top-10.
Forty-four drivers made qualifying attempts, with Brian Simo being the odd man out — the only driver who failed to claim a spot on the starting grid for Sunday’s race.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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