Sonoma NASCAR: Jamie McMurray beats AJ Allmendinger to pole

Jamie McMurray snatched pole in the final moments of a thrilling NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying session at Sonoma

McMurray, who was also on pole at the track in 2013, snatched pole from under the nose of AJ Allmendinger, who had topped the charts for JTG Daugherty for most of the session with a lap of 1m14.354s.

This is the first time the new for 2014 knockout qualifying format has been used at a road course, with an opening segment of 30 minutes deciding the top 12 shootout contenders for the final 10-minute session.

McMurray's rookie Ganassi team-mate Kyle Larson shone on his Cup road course debut by rounding out the top three, followed by Roush Fenway's Carl Edwards and Stewart-Haas pair Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick.

Despite their unassailable advantage over the competition of late - winning five of the last six races - the Hendrick Chevrolets failed to make it into the final 12.

Points leader and five-time Sonoma winner Jeff Gordon could only manage 15th and 2010 winner Jimmie Johnson could only manage 22nd.

One notable absentee from the battle for pole was road course specialist and former V8 Supercars champion Marcos Ambrose. Despite never qualifying lower than eighth here, the Australian could only manage 23rd.

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                 Time       Gap
 1.  Jamie McMurray      Ganassi Chevrolet        1m14.354s
 2.  AJ Allmendinger     JTG Daugherty Chevrolet  1m14.557s  +0.203s
 3.  Kyle Larson         Ganassi Chevrolet        1m14.670s  +0.316s
 4.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford        1m14.736s  +0.382s
 5.  Kurt Busch          Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   1m14.856s  +0.502s
 6.  Kevin Harvick       Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   1m14.894s  +0.540s
 7.  Ryan Newman         Childress Chevrolet      1m14.925s  +0.571s
 8.  Brian Vickers       Waltrip Toyota           1m14.958s  +0.604s
 9.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet      1m14.994s  +0.640s
10.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford              1m15.081s  +0.727s
11.  Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   1m15.414s  +0.729s
12.  Casey Mears         Germain Chevrolet        1m15.152s  +0.798s
13.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford              1m14.924s  Round 1
14.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota         1m14.933s  Round 1
15.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet       1m14.975s  Round 1
16.  Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota         1m15.032s  Round 1
17.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet       1m15.046s  Round 1
18.  Martin Truex Jr     Furniture Row Chevrolet  1m15.054s  Round 1
19.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford        1m15.069s  Round 1
20.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota         1m15.112s  Round 1
21.  Tony Stewart        Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   1m15.167s  Round 1
22.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet       1m15.176s  Round 1
23.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford               1m15.215s  Round 1
24.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford        1m15.303s  Round 1
25.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota           1m15.376s  Round 1
26.  Austin Dillon       Childress Chevrolet      1m15.388s  Round 1
27.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford           1m15.417s  Round 1
28.  Michael McDowell    Leavine Ford             1m15.433s  Round 1
29.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford               1m15.492s  Round 1
30.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet       1m15.518s  Round 1
31.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford           1m15.575s  Round 1
32.  Cole Whitt          BK Toyota                1m15.622s  Round 1
33.  Josh Wise           Parsons Chevrolet        1m15.755s  Round 1
34.  Ryan Truex          BK Toyota                1m15.760s  Round 1
35.  Justin Allgaier     Hscott Chevrolet         1m16.817s  Round 1
36.  Alex Kennedy        Circle Sport Chevrolet   1m16.094s  Round 1
37.  Timmy Hill          Hillman Chevrolet        1m16.203s  Round 1
38.  Alex Bowman         BK Toyota                1m16.321s  Round 1
39.  David Mayhew        Xxxtreme Chevrolet       1m16.423s  Round 1
40.  Reed Sorenson       Baldwin Chevrolet        1m16.622s  Round 1
41.  Boris Said          FAS Lane Ford            1m16.721s  Round 1
42.  Michael Annett      Baldwin Chevrolet        1m17.632s  Round 1
43.  Tomy Drissi         NEMCO Toyota             1m18.626s  Round 1
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