Only two drivers have collected three consecutive Top-5 finishes at Sonoma Raceway: Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch.
But while Bowyer will have to start 25th in tomorrow’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 on the Northern California road course, Busch had a much better qualifying session on Saturday and will roll off fifth.
In his last three runs at Sonoma, Busch has won (2011) and finished third (2012) and fourth (2013) – all with three different teams. His run on Saturday will put him in good position for another solid result.
“It was a good lap,” he said. “We prepared well for this race with a couple of test sessions and executed a good practice run yesterday. The lap time we ran put us P1 in the first practice. We knew we needed to gain a little more and today, we got beat by a couple of guys that laid down really good laps.
“For us, it was a better than average lap. That gets us fifth and the way the team has bolted together this qualifying set-up, I think that gives us a good pattern for what we have to put under it for a race set-up.”
Busch led a strong qualifying effort for Stewart Haas Racing, which also got Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick into the final round. When the dust settled, Harvick qualified sixth and Patrick 11th.
“Road course qualifying kind of stresses me out because there are so many opportunities to make a mistake,” said Harvick. “Our first goal was to get through the first round with a solid lap and we were able to do that. Second round was good for us too, always want to do better, but we can see the front so that is a good thing on a road course.”
Said Patrick about her day: “We only made one qualifying run yesterday, but it felt good in the opening round today. It just got tight in the second session and we ended up 11th. We would have liked it to be better, but we’ll take it. We’ve got a lot of folks from [sponsor] GoDaddy here tomorrow, so I’m happy we are starting up front.”
For a full recap of today’s qualifying, click here.