Larson notches fifth consecutive Cup Series pole at Sonoma Raceway

For a fifth consecutive time, Kyle Larson will be leading the field to the green flag from the pole position at Sonoma Raceway.

The reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion from Elk Grove, California, clocked in a pole-winning lap at 91.936 mph in 77.776 seconds to place his No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at the top of the leaderboard and claim the Busch Light Pole Award for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350.

The pole award at Sonoma was Larson’s fifth at the track, the second of the 2022 Cup season and the 12th of his career, placing him in a tie with Ricky Rudd for second place on the all-time pole list at Sonoma and one behind Jeff Gordon. With the pole, Larson aims to defend his victory at his home track following his dominant win a year ago, where he swept both stages leading up to the victory.

“[The qualifying run] was good,” Larson, who was slipping sideways entering the Chute corner from Turns 4 to 7, said on FS2. “I was a little bit surprised I ran that seventy-something I ran because I gave up a lot of time in Turn 4 and 7. Had I had those two corners back, I feel like I could’ve been quite a bit faster. Just really good Chevy. Thanks to everybody at our team and everybody back at the shop. Engine shop. Excited about it, but for [teammate] Chase [Elliott] to lay down that lap, I feel like that shows how strong he is because he was really good on race trim, too. I got to figure some things out on my end. I think my car’s capable of racing good. I just got to get a little bit better on the long runs and hopefully, have a good shot.”

Teammate Chase Elliott will be sharing the front row with Larson after he posted a fast qualifying lap at 77.799 mph in 92.083 seconds in his No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Elliott will be pursuing his first victory at Sonoma after finishing in the runner-up spot behind Larson a year ago.

Chris Buescher, who makes his return behind the wheel of the No 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford Mustang after being absent last weekend at Gateway following a positive COVID-19 test, was the third-fastest qualifier while Michael McDowell and Tyler Reddick will start in the top five. Rounding out the top-10 qualifying spots are Cole Custer, Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin, respectively.

Kurt Busch, the first competitor who did not transfer to the final round, will start in 11th place in his No. 45 Monster Energy Toyota TRD Camry followed by brother Kyle, Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Chase Briscoe, AJ Allmendinger, Joey Hand, Justin Haley, Alex Bowman and William Byron, respectively. Todd Gilliland was the fastest-rookie qualifier in 24th place in front of Austin Cindric and Harrison Burton.

Cody Ware was the only competitor who did not post a qualifying lap due to his No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang failing pre-qualifying inspection three times. As a result, Ware will be assessed a drive-through penalty following the drop of the green flag at Sonoma and his car chief Steve Gray has been suspended for the remainder of the weekend.

Qualifying position, time, speed

1. Kyle Larson, 77.776 seconds, 92.111 mph

2. Chase Elliott, 77.799 seconds, 92.038 mph

3. Chris Buescher, 77.938 seconds, 91.919 mph

4. Michael McDowell, 77.941 seconds, 91.916 mph

5. Tyler Reddick, 78.021 seconds, 91.821 mph

6. Cole Custer, 78.070 seconds, 91.764 mph

7. Ross Chastain, 78.137 seconds, 91.685 mph

8. Daniel Suarez, 78.148 seconds, 91.672 mph

9. Joey Logano, 78.276 seconds, 91.522 mph

10. Denny Hamlin, 78.515 seconds, 91.244 mph

11. Kurt Busch, 78.244 seconds, 91.560 mph

12. Kyle Busch, 78.275 seconds, 91.523 mph

13. Austin Dillon, 78.319 seconds, 91.472 mph

14. Ryan Blaney, 78.472 seconds, 91.294 mph

15. Chase Briscoe, 78.507 seconds, 91.253 mph

16. AJ Allmendinger, 78.572 seconds, 91.178 mph

17. Joey Hand, 78.578 seconds, 91.171 mph

18. Justin Haley, 78.603 seconds, 91.142 mph

19. Alex Bowman, 78.664 seconds, 91.071 mph

20. William Byron, 78.691 seconds, 91.040 mph

21. Aric Almirola, 78.706 seconds, 91.022 mph

22. Brad Keselowski, 78.829 seconds, 90.880 mph

23. Kevin Harvick, 78.857 seconds, 90.848 mph

24. Todd Gilliland, 79.065 seconds, 90.609 mph

25. Austin Cindric, 79.300 seconds, 90.340 mph

26. Harrison Burton, 79.315 seconds, 90.323 mph

27. Bubba Wallace, 79.337 seconds, 90.298 mph

28. Martin Truex Jr., 79.356 seconds, 90.277 mph

29. Josh Bilicki, 79.493 seconds, 90.298 mph

30. Corey LaJoie, 79.544 seconds, 90.063 mph

31. Christopher Bell, 79.553 seconds, 90.053 mph

32. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 79.617 seconds, 89.981 mph

33. Erik Jones, 79.711 seconds, 89.875 mph

34. Ty Dillon, 80.037 seconds, 89.509 mph

35. Scott Heckert, 81.171 seconds, 88.258 mph

36. Cody Ware – Did not qualify

The Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway is scheduled to commence on Sunday, June 12, at 4 p.m. ET on FS1.

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


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