NASCAR »

Johnson wins Lowe's pole with new-car record lap

Chase leader Jimmie Johnson takes pole for the latest round of the NASCAR Sprint Cup
Rain or no rain, to Jimmie Johnson, it didn't matter - at least in terms of his starting position.

After a persistent drizzle subsided Thursday afternoon, Johnson, the leader in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, put his #48 Chevrolet on the pole for Saturday night's NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and he did so in record fashion.

Flying around 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway in 28.070 seconds (192.376 mph), Johnson posted the fastest qualifying lap ever run in NASCAR's new racecar, which was introduced to Cup competition in 2007.

He broke the mark of 190.907mph set by Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Texas in April 2008, and in doing so, edged Hendrick Motorsports team-mate and second-place Chase driver Mark Martin (191.816mph) for the top spot.

The pole was Johnson's third of the season and the 22nd of his career. His has five victories at Lowe's, including four straight in 2004-2005, but hasn't won at the track since it was repaved before the 2006 Coca-Cola 600.

"Man, it's fast," said Johnson, who would have started from the pole in the event of a qualifying rainout as the top car in the standings. "You're not out of the gas long. At the end of the straightaway, it doesn't seem that fast, because you're going so fast through the turn that the novelty has worn off once you get on the straightaway.

"Whatever is going on with the tire combination right now and the track, there's a ton of grip. These cars are putting up some fast laps."

Kasey Kahne (191.056mph) will start third beside fourth-place qualifier Matt Kenseth (190.550mph), the only non-Chase driver to crack the top six. Stewart-Haas team-mates Tony Stewart (190.469mph) and Ryan Newman (190.416mph) earned the fifth and sixth starting positions during Thursday night's time trials.

Martin and Kahne also eclipsed the previous 2008 qualifying mark for the new car and expect the speed to carry over into Saturday night's race.

"An enormous amount of that speed was the track conditions," said Martin, who trails Johnson by twelve points with six races left in the Chase. "Surprisingly, it was really fast - grippy - for no rubber (after the rain). Sometimes this place needs rubber to get better.

"I think it's going to be great (Saturday). It's always great racing here and it continues to get better. And the teams continue to make the cars better."

Contact with Jeff Burton's Chevrolet during Thursday's practice damaged the nose of Juan Pablo Montoya's Chevy, but the third-place Chase driver didn't feel it hurt his qualifying effort. Nevertheless, Montoya's 18th-place starting position is his worst of the Chase so far.

Michael McDowell, Sterling Marlin, Dave Blaney and Travis Kvapil failed to qualify for the race.

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jimmie Johnson - Hendrick Motorsport   [pic credit: NASCAR/Getty]
Marcos Ambrose in the Richard Petty Motorsport garage at Sonoma Raceway on June 20, 2014 (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads the field after a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, places his name in the top twelve on The Chase Grid after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, puts the winner`s sticker on his car in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cars race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Eckrich Ford, races Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, leads the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with his son, Keelan, in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Brian Scott, driver of the #2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, leads thre field past the green flag to start during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.