Marcos Ambrose makes it 2 poles in a row
SONOMA, Calif. (AP) -
Marcos Ambrose had never won a Sprint Cup Series pole before last week.

Now he has two in a row.

Ambrose won the top starting spot for Sunday's race at Sonoma with a fast lap around the 1.99-mile road course. He knocked off Jimmie Johnson, then waited to see if Jeff Gordon could beat him.

Gordon was the last driver to attempt to qualify, and just missed the pole. Gordon wound up second in Friday's qualifying session.

Johnson was third, followed by Greg Biffle and Michael Waltrip Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer. Brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch qualified seventh and eighth.

Sprint Cup Series points leader Matt Kenseth was ninth, and Ryan Newman rounded out the top 10.

Earnhardt brings positive attitude into Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif. (AP) -
Dale Earnhardt Jr. heads into the first road course race of the season hoping for another top-10 finish.

There's one problem, though: Earnhardt has never finished higher than 11th in his previous 12 starts at Sonoma.

Earnhardt is coming off a victory Sunday at Michigan that ended his four-year losing streak. He's been consistent all year and leads the Sprint Cup Series with 12 top-10 finishes in 15 races. He's also the only driver to complete every lap this season.

Earnhardt knows road courses are not his strength, but he wants to be upbeat going into Sunday's race and will not dwell on the outcome if he doesn't do well.

McMurray and Montoya like direction of team
SONOMA, Calif. (AP) -
It's been a continuous search for consistency for the NASCAR program at Chip Ganassi Racing.

Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray head into Sunday's race at Sonoma at just about the halfway mark of another rebuilding year for the organization.

McMurray is 18th in the Sprint Cup Series and Montoya is 19th. Combined, they have only five top-10 finishes all season.

But they say their cars are better, they've had increased speed of late and they are pleased with the direction of the race team.

The Ganassi organization was arguably the most aggressive in NASCAR during the offseason when the team owner made sweeping changes to the organization. Both drivers believe it has made a marked difference, but stress the results won't happen overnight.

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