Allmendinger secures Sonoma pole

Allmendinger secures Sonoma pole

AJ Allmendinger took NASCAR Sprint Cup pole at Sonoma ahead of Kurt Busch, while Kyle Larson broke the qualifying lap record in the first session.

Saturday, June 27, 2015 (2:25 pm)
JTG Daugherty Chevrolet driver Allmendinger’s pole didn’t come easy, with Michael Annett’s stall causing a red flag when he was on a flying lap in the opening segment, but he rallied to secure a place in the cut-off before taking the top honours.

The eventual pole time of 1m14.835s was set in the final moments of the top 12 shootout, as Allmendinger displaced the initial benchmark set by Jeff Gordon, who ended up fifth behind Busch, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Larson when his rivals improved late on.

Larson had made the top 12 shootout after besting his Ganassi team-mate Jamie McMurray’s lap record from the year before by two tenths with a time of 1m14.186s, but he was unable to repeat his heroics in the final stage.

Clint Bowyer took sixth, narrowly beating Tony Stewart and Casey Mears, while the top 10 was rounded off by David Ragan and Brad Keselowski.

Kyle Busch had been in the top six in first qualifying before coming up short in the second section as he caused a red flag.

The Joe Gibbs racer lost control at the start of Turn 10. He restarted to take 11th ahead of Martin Truex Jr.

While the final stage provided little in the way of close battles, in the first stage the final cut-off position of 12th regularly swung back and forth.

Ragan was the man who secured the place but only after the likes of Jimmie Johnson, 2014 Sonoma winner Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin had held the position.

Championship frontrunners Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano also failed to reach the final shootout and will start 17th and 19th.

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