Sonoma NASCAR: AJ Allmendinger takes pole ahead of Kurt Busch

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

Sonoma NASCAR: AJ Allmendinger takes pole ahead of Kurt Busch

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.

STARTING GRID:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 1m14.385s -
2 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 1m14.551s 0.166s
3 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 1m14.624s 0.239s
4 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 1m14.678s 0.293s
5 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 1m14.699s 0.314s
6 Clint Bowyer Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 1m14.715s 0.330s
7 Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 1m14.888s 0.503s
8 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet 1m14.966s 0.581s
9 David Ragan Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 1m15.018s 0.633s
10 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 1m15.175s 0.790s
11 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 1m15.179s 0.794s
12 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet 1m15.270s 0.885s
13 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 1m14.815s -
14 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 1m14.833s -
15 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 1m14.973s -
16 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 1m14.991s -
17 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 1m15.034s -
18 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 1m15.066s -
19 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 1m15.081s -
20 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 1m15.102s -
21 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 1m15.121s -
22 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford 1m15.138s -
23 Michael McDowell Leavine Family Racing Ford 1m15.145s -
24 Sam Hornish Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 1m15.246s -
25 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 1m15.344s -
26 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 1m15.406s -
27 Justin Allgaier HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 1m15.474s -
28 David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford 1m15.537s -
29 Cole Whitt Front Row Motorsports Ford 1m15.566s -
30 Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota 1m15.638s -
31 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 1m15.782s -
32 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 1m15.788s -
33 Boris Said Go FAS Racing Ford 1m15.828s -
34 J.J. Yeley BK Racing Toyota 1m15.857s -
35 Justin Marks Front Row Motorsports Ford 1m15.954s -
36 Alex Kennedy Circle Sport Chevrolet 1m16.106s -
37 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 1m16.174s -
38 Josh Wise Phil Parsons Racing Chevrolet 1m16.216s -
39 Landon Cassill Hillman Smith Motorsports Chevrolet 1m17.057s -
40 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 1m17.067s -
41 Alex Bowman Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 1m17.128s -
42 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 1m17.551s -
43 Jeb Burton BK Racing Toyota 1m17.658s -
44 Brendan Gaughan Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 1m17.931s -

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