Jamie McMurray wins pole in Fontana for NASCAR's fourth Chase race
Jamie McMurray won the pole position for the Pepsi Max 400 at Auto Club Speedway, the fourth race in NASCAR's 10-race Chase for the Cup championship playoff.
McMurray, this year's Daytona 500 winner, turned a lap of 185.285 mph Friday at the two-mile oval track in Fontana. Elliott Sadler qualified second at 184.407 mph and will start alongside McMurray on the front row Sunday.
Neither driver is among the 12 who are competing for the Cup title in this year's Chase.
"I worked really hard for my lap," said McMurray, who drives the No. 1 Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. "The track has a lot of speed in it, but it’s also really slick and even in qualifying with brand new tires, it’s really a handful."
Jimmie Johnson, who is seeking a record fifth consecutive Cup title and leads this year's Chase by eight points over Denny Hamlin, qualified eighth. Hamlin qualified poorly and will start 34th on the 43-car grid. Johnson has won four of the last six races at Fontana.
Elsewhere in the field, Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified ninth, Mark Martin was 11th, Kyle Busch will start 16th, Jeff Gordon was 17th and Tony Stewart qualified 22nd.
-- Jim Peltz
Photo: Jamie McMurray climbs from his car Friday after his qualifying run for the Pepsi Max 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images