SONOMA, Calif. — AJ Allmendinger, developing as the top driver on road courses, won the pole for Sunday’s race at winding Sonoma Raceway.

Allmendinger earned the top starting spot during Saturday’s knockout qualifying with a lap at 96.310 mph around the 10-turn, 1.99-mile course. It’s the first pole for JTG Daugherty Racing, which earned its first berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship last year when Allmendinger won on the Watkins Glen road course.

That puts the pressure on Allmendinger, who knows the races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen are likely his best chances to earn a spot in the 16-driver Chase field.

A native of Las Gatos, a little over an hour away from the Sonoma track, Allmendinger wasn’t sure how he’d feel heading into Sunday’s race.

“I haven’t grown up very well on not putting a lot of pressure on myself,” Allmendinger said. “We knew that if we go do our job and if I do my job (Sunday) and we have solid pit stops and we just take care of business, at the end we should give ourselves a chance. That’s all we can ask for.”

Kurt Busch will start second after his qualifying lap was interrupted when younger brother Kyle spun in Turn 10 to bring out a red flag with 7:03 left in the final 10-minute session. The spin also interrupted the lap for Kyle Larson, who was fastest in the first round of qualifying.

Matt Kenseth qualified third and was surprised with the result after a long day of practice Friday. Kenseth has just six career top-10 finishes in 30 starts on road courses.

“Yeah, we kind of overachieved,” Kenseth said about qualifying.

Kenseth was followed by Larson and five-time Sonoma winner Jeff Gordon.

INDYCAR: Graham Rahal held onto the lead out of a caution with three laps left and earned his second career win, closing out a wild, record-setting day at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

The 500-mile race had 83 lead changes, topping the IndyCar record of 73 set at Auto Club Speedway in 2001.

Tony Kanaan finished second and Marco Andretti was third.