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2 poles in a row

Marcos Ambrose wins top spot at Sonoma

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2 poles in a row

Marcos Ambrose, right, is congratulated by Aric Almirola after Ambrose on Friday won the pole position during qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 race in Concord, N.C. Ambrose's top speed was 95.262 mph. Jeff Gordon will start second.

    SONOMA, Calif. — Marcos Ambrose had never won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole before last week.
    Now he has two in a row.
    Ambrose won the top starting spot Friday for Sunday's race at Sonoma with a fast lap around the 1.99-mile road course. He knocked off five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, then waited to see if Jeff Gordon could beat him.
    "I don't know if I got it all, but I got a lot of it," Ambrose said after his lap, which averaged 95.262 mph.
    Gordon, the career leader on road courses with nine victories, was the last driver to attempt to qualify. He ran an aggressive lap around the 10-turn course, and just missed the pole with an average speed of 95.067 mph.
    Gordon will start second.
    "I thought it was a really good lap," Gordon said. "Hey, you've got to credit where credit is due: Marcos laid down a heck of a lap and we came up just a little bit short. We knew that was going to be a tough lap to beat."
    Ambrose, who excels at road course racing but is showing rapid improvement on ovals and picked up his first pole in 134 races last week at Michigan, said his Richard Petty Motorsports had his Ford ready for Sonoma.
    "We put a lot of effort into this road course program," said Ambrose, who raced to his lone Cup victory last year on the road course at Watkins Glen. "I'm thrilled for my team and it takes a whole team to qualify on pole two weeks in a row."
    Johnson ended up third, putting the Hendrick Motorsports teammates second and third on the starting grid, but said he's got a lot of work to do on his Chevrolet.
    Greg Biffle qualified fourth in a Ford.

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