Jimmie Johnson led a Hendrick Motorsports 1-2-3 sweep in Monster Energy Cup Series Qualifying session for Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro’s road to the pole began by first topping both of the opening rounds of qualifying. He topped that off with a lap averaging 188.890 mph around the 1.5-mile oval near Fort Worth, Texas.

The 7-time champion felt that today's pole is a step in the right direction as he is amid a winless streak dating back to Dover in 2017.

“It’s been a long couple of years, and we still have a ways to go and certainly race day’s more important than Friday,” Johnson said. We’re working so hard, and I think we’re a bit guilty of trying too hard and maybe stepping outside of our comfort zone at times and putting set-ups under the car that just quite aren’t proven yet.

“With all that said, we were very aggressive coming here, changed a lot of stuff around on our mile-and-a-half program, and top of the charts all day long and a great start for his Ally team. Just really proud of everybody keeping the faith and working hard.”

The pole is Johnson’s first since New Hampshire in 2016 and Chevrolet's first on a 1.5-mile oval in 24 races.

It was a Hendrick Motorsports sweep of the top three followed by Daytona 500 polesitter William Byron also on the front row and former Texas polesitter Chase Elliott in third.

Daniel Suarez made a splash in the second and third sessions by turning laps by himself rather than going out in the group. The move paid dividends for the driver of the No. 41 Ruckus Networks Ford Mustang as he will start fourth.

Austin Dillon completed the top five and earned his third top-five starting spot of the season so far in the process.

Denny Hamlin was the quickest Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and will start from sixth. Rookie Daniel Hemric made Q3 for the second time this season and will start seventh alongside 2014 Texas spring race winner Joey Logano in eighth.

Ty Dillon and Bubba Wallace completed the top ten with their first forays into Q3 of the season.

A few big names failed to advance to Q3 led by three-time Texas winner Kyle Busch in 16th. Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex, Jr. also found himself out of Q3 in 20th place along with Aric Almirola in 21st, who missed Q3 for only the third so far this season.

Round One featured the most drama as first Alex Bowman was the lone collision casualty in Round One when he got loose in the apex of Turns One and Two and hit the wall. That relegated him to 24th on the grid and forced him to a backup No. 88 Llumar Chevrolet Camaro for Sunday’s race.

The other drama came on pit road when Clint Bowyer left the staging lane heading for another run but was blocked by the No. 6 Wyndham Rewards Ford of Ryan Newman. NASCAR annouced on Tuesday new qualifying regulations deeming that a driver would be penalized for holding up another car on pit road. Officials did not penalize Newman.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...