· Kyle Larson’s pole win marked his fourth pole at Sonoma Raceway; and the 12th pole of his career in the NASCAR Cup Series.
· His four-pole win at Sonoma Raceway is the most of any active racer; and second only to Career Chevrolet driver Jeff Gordon (five poles) for the most of all time in series history at Sonoma Raceway.
· The pole win was the Camaro ZL1’s third in 2022; the 18th at Sonoma Raceway; and 726th of all time for Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series.
· The Chevrolet driver took five of the top 10 spots in qualifying, including front row sweeps: Chase Elliott (2), Tyler Reddick (5), Ross Chastain (7) and Daniel Suarez (8).
SONOMA, California (June 11, 2022) – For the third time this season, the Camaro ZL1 will lead the court to the green at Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. After topping the overall speed chart in a training series, the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1 carried into qualifying, with Kyle Larson clocking 77.776 seconds, at 92.111 mph, for a tie-leading fourth pole win at Sonoma Raceway and 12th pole of his career in the NASCAR mainline series. The most active drivers at Sonoma Raceway, Larson also now sits second on the list of all-time pole winners in the series’ history on the track, behind Career Chevrolet driver Jeff Gordon (five poles).
“It was a good round,” said Larson. “I was a little bit surprised that I ran on that lap because I felt like I gave up a lot of the time in Turns four and seven. If I get those two corners back I feel I can go a little bit faster. We just had Chevy HendrickCars.com No. 5 which is very good. Thanks to everyone on our team and everyone back to the repair shop and machine shop. I’m excited about it.”
This feat marked Chevrolet’s 18th pole win at Sonoma Raceway and 726th of all time in the NASCAR Cup Series, extending its lead over all manufacturers. Larson’s pole win was celebrated by Hendrick Motorsports team mate Chase Elliott, who finished second to lead Chevrolet to sweep the front row. “For Chase (Elliott) to do laps in the laps he did, I feel it shows how strong he is because he is also very good in race trim,” Larson said of his teammate’s qualification.
The Chevrolet driver took five of the top 10 for the starting lineup for tomorrow’s 110-lap race. Joining Larson and Elliott in the top 10 including Tyler Reddick, No. 8 Lenovo Camaro ZL1, in fifth; Ross Chastain, No. 1 Worldwide Express Camaro ZL1, in seventh position; and Daniel Suarez, No. 99 Onx Homes/Renu Camaro ZL1 complete the Top-10 Team Chevy in eighth place.
FS1 will be streaming the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway live at 4 p.m. ET tomorrow, Sunday, June 12. Live coverage of the 110-lap race can also be found on MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1, Pole Win Press Conference Transcript:
NO SURPRISE YOU ARE ON THE POLE AGAIN. RUN US THROUGH THE QUALIFICATIONS OF YOUR PERSPECTIVE.
“Really, it’s really neat to get another pole here. I think that’s five in a row I’ve heard. That is cool. My car was really good in qualifying trim. I feel like I could have gone a little faster there. On my good lap I made a pretty big mistake at Turn four. So, I was surprised I ran the lap I did because it was a huge mistake.
It’s good to get pole again and I’m looking forward to racing.”
YOU HAVE WINNING FIVE SEQUENTIAL POLETS HERE AT SONOMA RACEWAY. HOW NEAT TO DO THAT AND HOW MUCH MOMENTUM WILL GIVE YOU TO TOMORROW?
“It gives you confidence in your car, especially for short term things. I feel we need to improve it a bit for the race trim stuff. I found Chase (Elliott) very good and Kyle Busch probably quite good; at least the people around me. I just need to look at some data tonight and try a little better; and did a better job once the tires started to lose grip.”
“I’m not quite sure yet exactly what the strategy for the race is and how it all happened. I know Cliff (Daniels, crew chief) and my technicians probably have a good idea of what strategy to go for. We’ll talk about it again tomorrow and try to get ready for the race.”
WOULD YOU CHOOSE THIS LAYOUT THAN THE Carousel; OR IS IT REALLY IMPORTANT TO YOU?
“I think every rider has a different preference. I think for me, the other layouts work better for me and my driving style. I really struggled at Turn seven here. The way of the previous track, Turn seven was a little bit different and I feel like it was a little bit better for me. South Korea, being more traditional, left-handed, is also better for me.
But it doesn’t matter. We’ve been fast in both layouts, so hopefully tomorrow we can win in this layout.”
HOLIDAY NEXT WEEK. PLAN FOR YOU AND ANY UPDATE OWEN’S RACING AFTER THE INCIDENT?
“I’m not going to race. I really enjoy spending time with family and just hangout.
For Owen, I had to pick up a new chassis, spindles, radius bars, body parts, wings – basically everything. The car will be ready to leave Tuesday at Millbridge.”
YOU ARE THE MAJOR WINNER IN SONOMA RACEWAY, BUT NEW CARS AND DIFFERENT LAYOUTS. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN BRING FROM THE LAST YEAR THAT WILL HELP YOU THIS WEEK OR IS IT COMPLETELY DIFFERENT?
“I don’t think so. My car felt very, very good last year. Our car was very good compared to the pitch everywhere we went last year. This year, things are a little bit more difficult. Cars are more equal and it seems less here this year than last year’s car. I don’t think there’s much I can take from that, maybe just a little bit of techniques and things you use to get past people and stuff like that. Cars don’t really drive that much. There are some areas in where it feels normal and then there are other areas where I seem to struggle a bit more, which I’m sure everyone experiences as well.”
DO YOU FEEL THE CONCRETE THAT THEY REMOVED AFTER POINT FOUR, REMOVING THE ROAD FROM THE FOURTH – HOW TO DO IT?
“Now that it’s not there, I don’t know why we ever had a sidewalk there. It’s much better without it and you use the same number of tracks as you did before. So it’s just less aggressive on your car, your body and head bouncing off the headrests.
I like how they do that. There are good grips out there, which are good. It’s a pretty straight and forward corner.”
HOW DOES COTA HELP YOU FOR THIS WEEKEND? HOW DOES THE CAR FEEL HERE RELATED TO THE CITY?
“That would be a better question for Cliff (Daniels, crew chief). I’m sure the settings are much different, maybe not. The two tracks are completely different – the level of grip on them, the elevation, the corners, the braking, the speed, everything is completely different. So, there’s not much I can take from it. But like I said, I don’t know what’s different with our car, but I’m sure there are quite a few differences too.”
THIS IS YOUR TRACK HOME. DOES IT GIVE YOU ANY BOOST?
“Once I was in the car, no, I didn’t really think about any of that. But I’m sure during the race or before the race starts, I will definitely look around the crowd and see lots of blue No. 5 is out there. I know I think in this section right behind us in the stands it should be ‘Kyle Larson’s section’. I heard there should be thousands of fans in blue shirts, so that must be really cool. I always feel support when I come home; and now that I’m successful, it just explodes. It’s neat and like I said, looking at the stands, hopefully it’s really blue and that’s going to be cool to look at.”