Larson rolls on with fourth straight Sonoma pole

Larson rolls on with fourth straight Sonoma pole

NASCAR

Larson rolls on with fourth straight Sonoma pole

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For the fifth straight race at Sonoma Raceway, it will be a familiar face leading the field to the green flag.

Kyle Larson topped NASCAR Cup Series qualifying Saturday afternoon at 92.111 mph (1m70.776s). Larson, a California native, is also the defending Toyota / Save Mart 350 race winner.

“It was good,” Larson said. “I was a bit surprised because I felt like I gave up a lot of time in Turn 4 and 7. So, had I had those two corners back I feel like I could have been quite a bit faster. Just a really good HendrickCars.com Chevy. Thanks to everybody on our team and everybody back at the shop; the engine shop. I’m excited about it.

Hendrick Motorsports drivers locked out the front row in qualifying. Chase Elliott will start second after a lap of 92.083 mph.

“For Chase to lay down that lap, I feel like shows how strong he is because he was really good in race trim too. So, I’ve got to figure some things out on my end,” Larson said. “I think my car is capable of racing good, I’ve just got to get a little bit better on the long runs.”

Larson’s pole streak started in 2017. The Cup Series did not race at Sonoma in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and last year Larson was awarded the pole through the performance matrix.

The returning Chris Buescher qualified third at 91.919 mph. Completing the top five was Michael McDowell in fourth at 91.916 mph and Tyler Reddick fifth at 91.821 mph.

Cole Custer qualified sixth at 91.764 mph, Ross Chastain qualified seventh at 91.685 mph, and Daniel Suarez qualified eighth at 91.672 mph. Joey Logano starts ninth after a lap of 91.522 mph and Denny Hamlin starts 10th with a lap of 91.244 mph.

Kurt Busch starts 11th and Kyle Busch starts 12th after failing to advance to the final round. Chase Briscoe rounds out the top 15 starters.

Joey Hand starts 17th in his second Cup Series start of the season. He out-qualified the two other Hendrick Motorsports drivers as well as two Stewart-Haas Racing drivers and Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing.

Christopher Bell had the 31st fastest lap in qualifying. However, Bell will drop to the rear of the field Sunday as his No. 20 team pushed his car to the garage after his qualifying run. A vibration has resulted in the team choosing to make changes to the steering components.

Cody Ware was the only driver who did not post a qualifying lap and will start 36th. Ware was not permitted to qualify after his car failed inspection four times.

RESULTS

UP NEXT: Toyota / Save Mart 350 at 4 p.m. ET Sunday.

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