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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]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, applies the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits along with the rest of the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, races to win with Kyle Larson, driver of the 42 Target Chevrolet SS beside him finishing in eighth place Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win with a burnout Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by his Hendrik Motor Sports teammates Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevrolet SS (left), Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS (center) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS (right) after his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne joins Gordon, Johnson, and Earnhardt Jr. in the Chase. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase.  (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on August 31, 2014 in Bowmanville, Canada. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 on August 31, 2014 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, and German Quiroga, driver of the #77 OtterBox Toyota, take the chequered flag during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 on August 31, 2014 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, races during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 on August 31, 2014 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Alex Tagliani, driver of the #19 Reese Towpower Ford, leads the field at the start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 on August 31, 2014 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

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