Kyle Larson Wins Back-to-Back Poles at Sonoma Raceway

Getty Images

Getty Images

Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick have one Sonoma checkered flag apiece. Larson believes his background in sprint auto racing actually helps him on road courses because he knows how to rely on his car's suspension in different ways than most NASCAR drivers. Next race: Overton's 300, June 30, Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet, Illinois.

He enters this weekend seventh in the points standings, 171 points behind his brother and points leader Kyle Busch, with three top fives eight top 10s and two pole awards, sitting in the front row of the series' previous race at MI. The 25-year-old driver grew up in the Sacramento suburbs and attended races at this track as a fan of fellow Northern Californian Jeff Gordon. "I'm glad we could pick up a lot of time there and get the pole". Chase Elliott qualified in third, and Larson teammate Jamie McMurray was fourth.

Larson made the comment on Twitter while responding to a question from the World of Outlaws' account, but it sparked immediate online criticism from NASCAR fans.

Chip Ganassi Racing has won the pole at Sonoma in four of the last six races. Maybe I don't do a good job at it sometimes, but I enjoy racing all types of vehicles. I smoke the tires off it. "Any corner where you have to slow down and speed back up, I tend to struggle at, so I've got to get better at that".

It's where Busch was first noticed by his first NASCAR team owner, Jack Roush, at a NASCAR Southwest Series event that he won at Sonoma Raceway in 1999 en route to winning the series title that season. It's the 11th time the 2017 series champion will start in the top 10 in 2018 and the fifth time this year he's on the front row. "It could be the best race you've ever seen at Sonoma or the worst race, but everybody is going to have a great time".

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Dinger dinged: A.J. Allmendinger typically excels on road courses, and he led qualifying after the first round by turning a lap in 75.828 seconds. Larson had been 10th fastest in the first round of qualifying.

Rookie work: William Byron was the highest-qualifying rookie in eighth. But we haven't had as many stage points.

Keep cool: Larson isn't overly excited about his pole position largely because he remembers the frustration of last year's finish. It all adds up to a good chance Sunday for exciting racing, which is what everybody needs.

"Well, I have a long ways to go to get better at racing here", Larson said Saturday. The circuit has three non-oval tracks on its schedule this season for the first time in 31 years, and many drivers would like to see more in the future. "It's like they read it as if I said in two years from now, I wanted to do it". I would be off the gas, turn the wheel and I would just drive straight off the track.

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