Kyle Larson claims 3rd straight NASCAR pole at Sonoma
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
SONOMA, Calif. — Not even a change in the course layout could halt Kyle Larson’s qualifying dominance on his home track.
Larson won the NASCAR Cup Series pole at Sonoma Raceway for the third consecutive year on Saturday, easily navigating the return of the Carousel turn to the wine country course.
Larson reached an average lap speed of 95.712 mph in his Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet to earn his first pole of the season. William Byron was second for Hendrick Motorsports, barely behind Larson at 95.669 mph, making an all-Chevy front row Sunday.
“In the Carousel, I think I gave up a little speed, but I feel like I made up some time in other areas, too,” Larson said. “It’s cool to get a third pole at my home track.”
Larson sees a simple reason for his excellence in qualifying, and it isn’t his familiarity with Sonoma: “I think our cars are just quick for short-run stuff. It just fits my style a little bit. You can be really aggressive for a lap.”
Larson was fastest in practice Friday, and he set the track qualifying record in the opening round. He kept it up to win his eighth career pole, excelling again at Sonoma despite the addition of the Carousel turn, which hasn’t featured in a NASCAR race at Sonoma since 1997–when Larson was 4 years old.