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Jimmie Claims Dover Pole

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, September 24 2010

Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus win Dover pole. (File photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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Jimmie Johnson won the pole for Sunday’s AAA 400 Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway on Friday afternoon.

The four-time and reigning champion’s fast lap was at 155.736 mph. The pole was the third of the season for Johnson, who has won five races in 2010.

“This is certainly a step in the right direction for momentum,” Johnson said. “Last weekend we ran much better than where we finished. It stinks that we finished where we did but there is nothing we can really do about it and to come out this weekend and qualify on the pole just starts the weekend off on the right foot. And it really creates a good situation for us in the race having that first pit stall.

“Track position is very, very important here. It seems to be more important as each weekend and each year goes by. We just learn more about the cars and make them more equal and the aero deficit that you’re in being one position back; just one position back is enough to keep you from running the lap times you need to.

“So, it’s all small little steps now and track position is one of the few big steps left in our sport. And the best way to get that track position is by qualifying on the front row or up front, and we did that. Hopefully we can maintain that track position throughout the race and have a good finish.”

Second fastest around the high-banked concrete mile was Ford driver A.J. Allmendinger of Richard Petty Motorsports. Allmendinger turned a fast lap at 155.642 mph.

Third fastest was Mark Martin, like Johnson, in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. However, Martin’s car was found to have an illegal shock absorber and he will start from the rear of the field Sunday.

Moving up to third on the starting grid was Martin Truex Jr. in a Michael Waltrip Racing Chevrolet.

“You can always do a little better, you know,” Truex said. “You can always find things about your lap that weren’t quite right. We had a decent practice today. We made constant improvements on the car and we ended up our last run there was the best that we had been, but it wasn’t quite good enough so we made a few more changes and it was a good pickup for us.

“That’s probably one of the biggest pickups all day as far as making some adjustments and going back out and running. It was a good pickup, it wasn’t perfect. I probably could’ve made it better yet, but it was a good lap for our NAPA Toyota and I’ve just got to thank all of the guys for their hard work.”

Points leader Denny Hamlin will start fourth.

He was followed by Juan Pablo Montoya and Chase driver Greg Biffle.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, September 24 2010
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