A week after claiming a historic win for Hendrick Motorsports in the Coca-Cola 600, Kyle Larson will start on the pole in his home state of California for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday.
“Sonoma is a finesse track, but you still have to be aggressive,” Larson said. “I’ve had a lot of success there with three poles, but I seemed to struggle during the race, so I’m really looking forward to going there in Hendrick Motorsports equipment. Hendrick Motorsports’ road course program is really good, especially the 9 team. It seems like Chase Elliott has won every road course race the last four years.”
Three of four Hendrick drivers will start Sunday’s race inside the top-three. Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott will line up on the front row next to Larson at Sonoma, and their HMS teammate William Byron will start third.
“Sonoma has been a place that I haven’t done a very good job at in the past. It’s been a pretty big challenge for me,” Elliott said. “It’s been a couple years since we’ve been there, so it’s been a while. When we were there in 2019, I felt like we were doing a great job and in a good position before we had our mechanical issue, so I’m looking forward to getting back and having another shot at it.”
All four Hendrick drivers will be in the top-10 of the starting grid with Alex Bowman in seventh.
“Over the last few years, I feel like our road course program on the # 48 team is getting stronger. Having a teammate like Chase to lean on for some road course advice has been extremely helpful,” Bowman said. “We didn’t go to Sonoma last season, so this week is going to consist of watching old races and simulator work. Hopefully, we can go out this weekend and keep our streak of top-10s and continue moving up in the point standings.”
The highest starting non-Hendrick Motorsports driver will be Cup Series points leader Denny Hamlin. He will share row two with Byron from the fourth starting spot.
Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch will start fifth, sharing row three on the grid with Austin Dillon.
“Sonoma has been a really solid track for us in the past,” Busch said. “I love that area of the country. It’s a cool place and a fun track. There’s a lot of character to that place. Since we didn’t race there last year, it will be interesting going back there with a completely new downforce package and no practice time. We’ll give it our best with our Sport Clips Camry and see if we can go back out there and get another win.”
Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, and Tyler Reddick will start in the eighth, ninth and 10th positions respectively, as a result of NASCAR’s formula for setting starting grids that takes into consideration the owner points standings and previous race finishing order and fastest laps.
TOYOTA/SAVE MART 350 STARTING LINEUP