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Ambrose takes second consecutive pole

"I think we won the race here with Richard Petty Motorsports a couple, three years ago, so some of the guys know how to win here also. We have a driver we think that gave one of them away out here so it is time he got one back for us!"

Ambrose's qualifying lap was 75.203s (95.262mph) on the 1.99-mile road course was 0.154s faster than that of Jeff Gordon and was a new qualifying record for the NASCAR-configuration of the raceway.

"I was very pleased with the lap," said Gordon of his own effort, which was the last qualifying run of anyone on Friday. "It was a very solid lap, the best lap I've had here in a number of years and I'm very pleased.

"I know we got second ... Marcos put down one heck of a lap and that was going to be tough to beat," he admitted. "I wasn't going to allow myself to be reeled in too much to try to get so aggressive to shoot for the pole to where we ruined a good, solid qualifying effort. So I tried to attack areas that I felt the car had it in it, and showed that in practice, and the car stuck; and other areas where I felt like if I attacked I could go over the edge. I was making sure that I didn't do that."

Gordon's lap ended up clocked at 75.357s, 0.154s off Ambrose's time but still ahead of Gordon's own team mate Jimmie Johnson who claimed third place and will start Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 race on the second row of the grid alongside Greg Biffle.

The third row was an all-Michael Waltrip Racing affair, with Martin truex Jr. just pipping his team mate Clint Bowyer for the better spot, while behind them on the fourth row it was a Busch family reunion with Kyle Busch starting alongside his older brother Kurt.

Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman round out the top ten, with Carl Edwards just outside in 11th and due to start the race alongside Juan Montoya, himself something of a road course specialist after his years in F1 and a previous Sonoma winner back in 2007.

"It was okay," said the Colombian. "It was really good the first part of the lap. We just got too loose in the fast corners; the last two right-handers, I was just way too loose. But it was fun.

"I lost a lot of time where I got sideways," he admitted. "Where you should be wide-open I'm half-throttle, drifting. And drifting is not fast!"

Last week's race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. was back down to earth somewhat, not a natural road racer and not able to match the performances of his Hendrick team mates on Friday as he qualified down in 19th.




Related Pictures

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Marcos Ambrose, right, talks things over with Joey Logano on pit lane before qualifying at Sonoma on Friday, June 22, 2012. (Photo Credit: By Robert Laberge, Getty Images for NASCAR)
Marcos Ambrose and team owner Richard Petty celebrate his Coors Light Pole Award with their crew at Sonoma on Friday, June 22, 2012. (Photo Credit: By Tom Pennington, Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, who is in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 21st position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Newman is 3rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, who is in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 5th position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick is 4th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ParkerStore Chevrolet, poses with the Keystone Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finished in 2nd place Sunday, November 9, 2014 in the final Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Gordon just missed out being in the Championship 4 finale next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, speaks to the media after failing to advance to race for the championship in the season finale after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. July 12, 2014. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch celebrates pole position at Phoenix International Raceway. November 8 2014. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Chase, qualified for 15th position Friday, November 7, 2014 for Sunday`s final Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Johnson won the NASCAR race last week at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, who is in the Chase, qualified for 20th position Friday, November 7, 2014 for Sunday`s final Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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