Jamie McMurray Qualifies First for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi MAX 400 at Auto Club Speedway

Green flag for Pepsi MAX 400 waves at Sunday, Oct. 10 at noon PT

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (Oct. 8, 2010) – Sunny California lived up to its name as sunshine greeted NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying Friday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway for Sunday’s Pepsi MAX 400.  Capturing the Coors Light Pole Award for the second consecutive race at California was Jamie McMurray (No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet) with a lap time of 38.859 seconds and average speed of 185.285.

The pole is McMurray’s seventh in 288 career Sprint Cup Series starts and second at Auto Club Speedway. McMurray, who failed to qualify for the 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, currently sits in 14th position in the points standings.

“That’s all I had,” said the pole-sitter McMurray.  “I worked really hard for my lap.  The track has a lot of speed in it but it’s really slick.  Just even coming to the green you know what you have when you drive in to turn three.  You can tell if what you have is going to be good or bad.”

Starting next to McMurray in Row 1 on Sunday will be 2004 Auto Club Speedway winner Elliott Sadler (No. 19 Reynolds Wrap Ford), followed by Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Crown Royal Ford) in third position in Row 2.  Sadler qualified with a time of 39.044 and speed of 184.407 trailed closely by Kenseth at 39.110 and speed of 184.096.

Sadler continued his stellar driving during qualifying at Auto Club Speedway having five top-10 starts in 19 races, compared with only two during the entire 2010 campaign. 

“Everybody knows we need this for our team,” said Sadler.  “It’s one of our newer cars, we updated the body, it’s been good since we’ve unloaded it. We felt really comfortable coming into the race this weekend.  That’s a great way to start off on the weekend.”

Kenseth, who currently sits 11th place in the Sprint Cup standings, has 12 top-10 finishes at Auto Club Speedway dating back to 2000.  He is a three-time champion at the track, completing his most recent victory in Feb. of 2009.

“Our lap was pretty good too,” stated Kenseth.  “It was a great lap for us.  We made some adjustments and fixed some stuff I was complaining about in practice and I got a good lap on it…It has been a really good track for us in the past.  Ever since the first time I’ve come here for some reason we’ve run pretty well at it.”

Rounding out the top five were Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Target Chevrolet) in fourth and Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Budweiser Ford).  Five of the top six qualifiers on Friday are not part of the 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. 

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