Edwards Takes the Pole in Sonoma

Carl Edwards will lead the field to the green flag tomorrow afternoon after claiming pole position in wine country.

The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota scored the pole for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 after posting a time of 1:14.799 and a speed of 95.777 mph.

“That was good,” Edwards said of his pole lap. “My first lap was amazing, the car was really good and then I wasn’t sure about the second lap. It was good enough and that tells you how good the car is. I just can’t say enough about Stanley and all the things they’re doing for us. We had a dinner last night for us and this will be really exciting for them to have their Stanley Toyota up on the pole for the start of the race and hopefully we can stay there and get another win.”

It’s his 19th career pole in 425 Sprint Cup Series starts, the third pole of 2016 and his first at Sonoma Raceway.

AJ Allmendinger will start second in his No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet after posting a time of 1:14.878 and a speed of 95.676 mph while Martin Truex Jr. will start third in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota after posting a time of 1:14.881 and a speed of 95.672 mph.

“Honestly, for where we were yesterday; it was a struggle yesterday,” Allmendinger said. “We just never could really find the direction of the car. All my guys did a great job to get to work and get this Kroger/Kingsford Chevy closer to the front. When I saw Carl first lap, I kind of said I don’t care what kind of lap I run. If he runs that again, I’m not going to get close. And then I saw it was less than a tenth. I always nitpick, but it was a big gain from where we were yesterday. We’ve still got to go to work and we’ve still got to figure out what we need for race trim, but a good start at least.”

“I thought we had it, thought we had a shot at it – I know we had a shot at it obviously being second in the first round,” Truex said of his qualifying run. “Knew a few spots on the track I could do a better job driving. Made a few adjustments on the car and felt like I could make up some time. Really had it all put together going into turn 11 and just missed it by six inches down there and got it a little bit tight and had to wait on the gas. If you don’t get off that corner, you lose a lot of time coming to the start-finish line…All in all, it was my best qualifying effort here and this is typically a place we race well, just don’t qualify well so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Kurt Busch will start fourth in his No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet after posting a time of 1:14.895 and a speed of 95.654 mph followed by Kyle Larson who will round out the top-five starters in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet after posting a time of 1:15.124 and a speed of 95.362 mph.

Denny Hamlin will start sixth in his No. 11 JGR Toyota and Joey Logano will start seventh in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford.

Logano said afterwards that his run was “better than where we were last year. We were 17thor 18th last year, so we’ve improved. I thought I had a shot after the first round, but lost some grip the second round and tried harder at the same time and all of that just didn’t work out. It’s unfortunate that we lost a little bit from the first round to the second round, but we’re still in good shape. I still think we have a top-five car and we proved that today in qualifying. We were really close to that, so now we’ll just work our way through it and see where we end up. At this race you never know what’s gonna happen. It’s about strategy and the fastest car doesn’t always win. A lot of times if you have a top-5 car you can figure out ways to win and I feel like we have that, so it’s just all about executing the race strategy and getting through the race by keeping your cool and doing all of that right.”

Kyle Busch will start eighth in his No. 18 JGR Toyota, Paul Menard will start ninth in his No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet as Tony Stewart rounds out the top-10 starters in his No. 14 SHR Chevrolet.

Danica Patrick will start 11th in her No. 10 SHR Chevrolet. Brad Keselowski will round out the 12 drivers that made the final round of qualifying in his No. 2 Penske Ford.

Among the cars that didn’t advance out of the first round included all four cars of Hendrick Motorsports.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was fastest in final practice the day before, said his team “just didn’t see what everybody had yesterday. We ran the same times as we did yesterday. The car drove the same. There were just some guys out there that were faster and they just never really made a mock run or showed that speed yesterday. We do have a good race car as far as race trim speed against everybody else. I still feel like this is the best car I’ve had at this race track. The car drove good. I made a couple of mistakes that cost me enough time to get into the next round. But, I make a mistake every lap I run here and that’s just the way it’s going to be. The guys have done a good job of giving me a good race car to cover me every once in a while and I’m pretty excited about tomorrow. I didn’t think we’d get the pole. I know everybody was excited. All the fans were excited about how we ran yesterday. But, I knew there were some guys that just get around this place no matter what car they’re in. They’re fast and when it came to pole day they were going to show up and they did.”

Cody Ware is the lone DNQ for this weekend.

Dylan Lupton will make his first career Sprint Cup Series start tomorrow driving the No. 93 Toyota for BK Racing.

Twenty Chevrolets, 11 Fords and nine Toyotas will comprise the 40-car field for tomorrow’s race.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2023, I'm on my eighth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Your Name" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."


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