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Ambrose on Sonoma pole

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Friday, June 22, 2012

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Marcos Ambrose

On Friday at Sonoma, Marcos Ambrose ran less than half as fast as he had last Saturday at Michigan -- but the result was the same.

Touring the 1.99-mile road course in 75.203 seconds (95.262 mph), Ambrose won the pole for Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350, his second Coors Light Pole Award in as many weekends and the second of his career. Ambrose withstood a determined challenge from Jeff Gordon (95.067 mph) who, as the last driver to make a qualifying attempt, came up just short.

Jimmie Johnson qualified third at 94.795 mph. Greg Biffle (94.722 mph) was fourth, followed by Martin Truex Jr. (94.686 mph).

Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, last year's winner Kurt Busch, series leader Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman will start from positions 6 through 10, respectively. Dale Earnhardt Jr., last week's winner at Michigan and second in points, qualified 19th.

Ambrose won the pole at Michigan last week at 203.241 mph on a lightning-fast, repaved 2-mile oval.

"I think Kentucky next week is going to be about 175 miles per hour, so I'll be gunning for that, as well," Ambrose quipped. "I'm just really thrilled [Friday]. We put a lot of effort into this race. ... We brought a brand-new hot rod for this race -- better than the one we had here last year -- and I'm just thrilled that we can convert.

"It's only one lap. We've got to do a lot more on Sunday, but at least we can go home and say we had the fastest car. It was a good lap. I was more nervous, I think, running [95] miles an hour than I was running 200."

Gordon was ahead of Ambrose's pace until he reached the last two corners.

"There are always places you can gain, and it's risk versus reward," Gordon said. "There are some places where you can lose, too. I felt like I was aggressive in areas where the car was comfortable in practice, and it was giving me signs and feedback that it had good grip.

"I knew it was a better lap than what we had in practice, but I felt like there were some areas where I left a little bit. If you had to do it all over again, I'd love to take these segments and try to do them again, [but] all in all, I'm very happy."

Lineup

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 95.262 75.203 Leader
2 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 95.067 75.357 -0.154
3 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 94.795 75.574 -0.371
4 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / US Stationary 94.722 75.632 -0.429
5 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 94.686 75.661 -0.458
6 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 94.679 75.666 -0.463
7 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 94.632 75.704 -0.501
8 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Services 94.557 75.764 -0.561
9 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Ford EcoBoost 94.524 75.790 -0.587
10 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Quicken Loans / Childrens Tumor Foundation 94.509 75.802 -0.599
11 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 94.503 75.807 -0.604
12 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 94.319 75.955 -0.752
13 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 94.269 75.995 -0.792
14 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 94.209 76.044 -0.841
15 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 94.206 76.046 -0.843
16 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Ground 94.199 76.052 -0.849
17 22 AJ Allmendinger Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 94.184 76.064 -0.861
18 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Clorox 94.103 76.129 -0.926
19 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew / National Guard / 7-Eleven 94.026 76.192 -0.989
20 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 93.991 76.220 -1.017
21 55 Brian Vickers Toyota RKMotorsCharlotte.com 93.949 76.254 -1.051
22 195 Scott Speed Ford Leavine Family Racing 93.913 76.283 -1.080
23 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Menards / Moen 93.840 76.343 -1.140
24 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 93.824 76.356 -1.153
25 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald's 93.732 76.431 -1.228
26 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Rheem 93.728 76.434 -1.231
27 38 David Gilliland Ford 1-800LoanMart 93.524 76.601 -1.398
28 32 Boris Said Ford HendrickCars.com 93.268 76.811 -1.608
29 34 David Ragan Ford Green 1 High Performance Green 93.166 76.895 -1.692
30 43 Aric Almirola Ford Medallion Financial 93.153 76.906 -1.703
31 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 93.064 76.979 -1.776
32 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 92.964 77.062 -1.859
33 98 David Mayhew Ford Phil Parsons Racing 92.833 77.171 -1.968
34 7 Robby Gordon Dodge MAPEI / SaveMart Supermarkets 92.563 77.396 -2.193
35 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Wheaties 92.459 77.483 -2.280
36 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves 92.140 77.751 -2.548
37 119 Chris Cook Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing 92.076 77.805 -2.602
38 249 J.J. Yeley Toyota America Israel Racing / JPO Absorbents 91.927 77.931 -2.728
39 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 91.836 78.009 -2.806
40 26 Josh Wise* Ford MDS Transport 91.729 78.100 -2.897
41 10 Tomy Drissi+ Chevrolet Ice Age Continental Drift 90.579 79.091 -3.888
42 83 Landon Cassill+ Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 89.341 80.187 -4.984
43 33 Stephen Leicht* Chevrolet Little Joes Autos.com 91.686 78.136 -2.933

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

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