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McMurray maintains torrid pace with pole run at Fontana

Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray snares pole for the Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway
The wave of success Jamie McMurray rode from coast to coast hasn't broken yet.

Fresh from his dramatic victory in last Sunday's Daytona 500, McMurray put his #1 Chevrolet on the pole during Friday's qualifying session at Auto Club Speedway.

With a lap at 183.744mph (39.185 seconds), McMurray edged Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya (183.477mph) for the top starting spot in Sunday's Auto Club 500, the second points race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

Clint Bowyer qualified third at 183.127mph, as cars powered by Earnhardt-Childress Racing engines grabbed the top three positions on the grid. Kasey Kahne (182.913mph) was fourth in the #9 Ford, followed by Dave Blaney (182.908mph).

Kevin Harvick (182.899mph), Bowyer's team-mate at Richard Childress Racing, qualified sixth. Four-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson, eager to rebound from a 35th-place finish at Daytona, qualified seventh. Sam Hornish Jr., Kyle Busch and Mark Martin claimed starting positions eight-ten.

Despite a whirlwind post-Daytona 500 schedule that included appearances in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, McMurray arrived at Fontana with an optimism that was reinforced by the performance of his car.

"I ran my first two laps of practice, and the car has really good speed in it," said McMurray, who now has four career poles, the last coming on the road course at Sonoma in 2007. "The car feels really solid, so that was refreshing to go through everything this week and get here and have a fast car again.

"I think this weekend is what really sets the standard for the rest of these races. It should be a really good weekend."

McMurray and crew chief Kevin "Bono" Manion piggybacked on the setup for the two-mile track developed by Montoya and #42 Chevy crew chief Brian Pattie.

"The good thing is that, everywhere we've been, I've really liked the 42 car setup, what Juan and Brian have developed," said McMurray who drove a Ford for Roush Fenway Racing last year. "So we just unloaded here very similar to what they had - and a couple of small things different - and we just adjusted our car from there.

"Honestly, when I went out, I hoped to get in the top seven. I felt like, if we ran a good lap, we would be in the top seven, so being on the pole was really unexpected."

Casey Mears, Johnny Sauter and Terry Cook failed to qualify for Sunday's race.



Related Pictures

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No. 1 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Chevrolet - Jamie McMurray [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS, finished ninth and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Great Stuff Chevrolet SS, finished 28th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS, finished eighth and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, finished 35th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished fifth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and his team celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Doublemint Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ENEOS Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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