Larson to try again to convert pole into win at Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. — Winning poles at Sonoma Raceway is nothing new for Kyle Larson. He powered his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet on Saturday to his third straight top starting spot at the 2.52-mile road course, which features the addition of the carousel this year.

What has been far less predictable is Larson’s finishing position in the Toyota/Save Mart 350, a statistic Larson hopes to rectify on Sunday (3 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Larson has finished 26th and 14th in his past two outings at Sonoma and has never run better than 12th in five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at the track.

“I guess the trend with my three poles is winning a pole and then struggling in the race,” said the 26-year-old from Elk Grove, Calif., who claimed his first Busch Pole Award of the season and the eighth of his career. “Hopefully, we’ll have something different for tomorrow. I feel good.

“We did a mock (qualifying) run yesterday in practice and ran a good lap. I kind of over-drove the first session and then the next session, I said, ‘I’m going to calm down and not make any mistakes, and I probably under-drove just a little. …

“It’s cool to get a third pole in a row here at my home track.”

Larson tied Ricky Rudd for most consecutive poles at the track.

Larson toured the 12-turn circuit in 94.784 seconds (95.712 mph), edging fellow Chevrolet driver William Byron (95.669 mph) by .043 seconds. Joey Logano qualified third at 95.618 mph in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford.

“I feel like my lap was pretty good,” said Logano, who was .094 seconds off the pole speed.

“I was just a little loose. I feel like I got through it mainly pretty decent. I got a little loose off of (Turn) 10. … Maybe that’s a tenth (of a second), maybe a half a tenth. I don’t know. I have to go back and look. All I needed was nine-hundredths, so that’s probably the spot I’m looking at.”

Chase Elliott qualified fourth ahead of Daniel Suarez. Sixth-place Denny Hamlin had the fastest Toyota, edging Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., the defending race winner. Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman also advanced to the second round of time trials and will start ninth through 12th, respectively.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying

31st Annual Toyota/Save Mart 350

Sonoma Raceway

Sonoma, Calif.

1. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 95.712 mph.
2. (24) William Byron, Chevrolet, 95.669 mph.
3. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 95.618 mph.
4. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 95.597 mph.
5. (41) Daniel Suarez, Ford, 95.234 mph.
6. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 95.207 mph.
7. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 95.127 mph.
8. (19) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 95.095 mph.
9. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 94.988 mph.
10. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 94.828 mph.
11. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 94.347 mph.
12. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 94.133 mph.
13. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 95.046 mph.
14. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 95.010 mph.
15. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 94.872 mph.
16. (1) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 94.751 mph.
17. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 94.748 mph.
18. (38) David Ragan, Ford, 94.677 mph.
19. (95) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 94.573 mph.
20. (47) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 94.431 mph.
21. (6) Ryan Newman, Ford, 94.396 mph.
22. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 94.384 mph.
23. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 94.372 mph.
24. (21) Paul Menard, Ford, 94.224 mph.
25. (8) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 94.211 mph.
26. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 94.052 mph.
27. (32) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 94.026 mph.
28. (36) Matt Tifft, Ford, 93.737 mph.
29. (96) Parker Kligerman, Toyota, 93.520 mph.
30. (43) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 93.506 mph.
31. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 93.487 mph.
32. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota, 93.018 mph.
33. (77) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 92.656 mph.
34. (52) Cody Ware, Chevrolet, 92.165 mph.
35. (00) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 91.897 mph.
36. (51) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 91.488 mph.
37. (15) Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 88.695 mph.
38. (27) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.

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