Carl Edwards wins pole as starting lineup set for Sonoma road course

Veteran Carl Edwards easily won the pole for Sunday’s Save Mart/Toyota 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

Edwards ran a lap of 95.777 miles per hour around the 10-turn, 1.99-mile circuit, the first of two road courses on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule this summer. That was enough to put the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the No. 1 spot.

“It’s so neat,” said Edwards, who earned his third pole of the year and the 19th of his career. “My teammates have helped me a ton.  I just hope we can put this together for another win. We’re having a good season.”

LATEST FROM NASCAR

Edwards won here in 2014 and enters Sunday’s race as the likely favorite again.

“We’re here to win,” said Edwards, who has victories at Bristol and Richmond already this season.

Qualifying on the outside of Row 1 was local favorite AJ Allmendinger of Los Gatos, Calif.  His qualifying lap was 95.676 mph in the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Chevrolet.

“Definitely a big gain from where we were yesterday,” said Allmendinger. “We’ve still got to go to work, we’ve still got to figure out race trim, but a good start at least.”

Row 2 will be Martin Truex Jr.’s Furniture Row Racing Toyota and Kurt Busch in the first of the Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolets. Kyle Larson completed the top five.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was fastest in Happy Hour Friday, narrowly missed advancing to the second and final round. Earnhardt qualified 13th, missing 12th position by just 0.03 seconds.

“We just didn’t see what everybody had yesterday,” said Earnhardt. “… I still feel like this is the best car I’ve ever had here.”

Failing to qualify was Cody Ware, while 23-year-old Dylan Lupton made it in the field and will make his first Sprint Cup start on Sunday.