Chase Elliott destroys auto in final NASCAR practice at Sonoma

15 moments that defined the first 15 Monster Energy races of the season

Larson has not been consistently strong on road courses, but after winning Michigan International Speedway last week and two sprint vehicle races on Monday and Tuesday, plus another World of Outlaws Sprint auto race last week, it's impossible to discount the importance of momentum. Larson's teammate Jamie McMurray trailed the pole victor, at a time of 75.249 seconds. "The whole lap was pretty bad", Larson said, proceeding to list the turns where he thought he made mistakes. "I felt like I gave up enough there that I wouldn't have a shot at the pole".

Kyle Larson continues to dominate racing.

Now signed as a road course driver for Rick Ware Racing (RWR), O'Connell will also run the Saturday race in the K & N Pro Series West race in the #77 Performance P-1 Motorsports Chevrolet. "I was surprised... This is cool to get a pole on a road course, my home state...lot of friends and family here". "I was really happy that we were able to run quicker than we did on stickers".

"I haven't thought about the way stage racing will affect the race".

Martin Truex Jr. said speeds were falling off by more than one second after just five to six laps on the track with a new set of tires in his Friday news conference. Truex's total is such he's already well positioned to advance to the four-driver championship finale November 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"I just got some wheel hop and then got loose and hit the fence", Jones said of the accident. "And I had a glass of my wine before I made my lap". It was a big deal there to beat Jamie there in qualifying.

"The cars have really improved in the last few years on road courses from when I first came to the team", Patrick said.

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It was Patrick's best qualifying effort since she was fourth at Charlotte in 2014, and the third best qualifying effort of her Cup career.

Danica Patrick (94.773 mph) was sixth fastest, Ryan Blaney (94.716 mph) was seventh fastest, Chase Elliott in his backup vehicle (94.536 mph) was eighth fastest, Chris Buescher (94.382 mph) was ninth fastest, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"I think he's the guy to step into the role", racing fan Matt Ricci said. The practice was marked by significant crashes for Chase Elliott and Erik Jones, who will compete in their back-up cars the rest of the weekend.

With tire wear already an issue, and the stages being raced for the first time at Sonoma Raceway, it'll be interesting to see when crew chiefs will call for pit stops.

"Let's be honest, I just love the area", Patrick said.

In what is likely his final Cup race at Sonoma, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran the third-fastest lap in Happy Hour and the fifth-fastest lap in the first practice. Kenseth was to start from the rear of the field due to an engine change, regardless of his qualifying position.

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