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Johnson opens Chase campaign with pole position

"These things are going to happen on the weekends," she shrugged. "We just need to keep finding the good stuff and work on how to make that happen all the time.”

There had been an unusual incident in the garage area ahead of the second practice session on Friday which saw Chase contenders Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski make heavy contact before they were even out on the track. Both drivers said that they had been confused by apparently contradictory hand signal from the NASCAR official in charge of blending the traffic from the team garage areas to the track itself.

"The guy did something different than normal," said Truex of the official who had held up his hand to stop Keselowski, catching out Truex himself who ran into the back of the #2 car. "I was just checking to make sure a car wasn't coming (from the left) and he already hit the brakes and I was like, 'Oh, s**t.'"

Truex took the blame for the mishap that left him with some front end damage to the #56 car. "My bad. Totally my fault. You get in a hurry in and out of the garage, and it's kind of hard to see what the guy is doing, you know?" he said, admitting: "It scared me pretty bad."

Keselowski's car suffered more serious damage to the rear end of his Dodge. While he tried to find Truex in the garage to talk with after the session, a looming Nationwide practice session meant there was no time. In any case, Keselowski felt that his sudden need to jump on the brakes at the behest of the NASCAR official was as much to blame as anything.

"There are more people in the garage than the stands, that's the problem," he said. "You're trying not to run over people and you can't see what's going on ... I couldn't see the damn guy because there are too many people."

After all that commotion, Truex finished 25th in the times in practice 2 after having set the fastest lap in the first session with a time of 29.709s (181.763 mph). Kyle Busch was fastest in the later session with a lap of 29.751s (181.507 mph), just 0.048s faster than Aric Almirola.

Full qualifying and practice times are available.




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Jimmie Johnson at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars into the pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, races the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, qualifies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualified 2nd fastest Saturday, July 26, 2014 for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Next to him on the front row will be pole winner Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, was the fastest qualifier Saturday, July 26, 2014 to capture the pole position for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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