Johnson Tops Chase Contenders In Qualifying
Jimmie Johnson will start Sunday’s season-ending Ford 400 Sprint Cup race in the best position among drivers still in contention for the 2010 championship.
Johnson, who will be second in points when the race begins, will be sixth on the starting grid. His qualifying lap was at 176.482 mph. That was about a half mile per hour slower than the pole speed of non-contender Kasey Kahne.
Kevin Harvick, third in points, was 28th fastest in qualifying.
Points leader Denny Hamlin, who is 15 and 46 points ahead of Edwards and Harvick respectively, qualified 38th.
Hamlin qualified 38th in Homestead a year ago but came back and won the race.
“It was tough,” Hamlin said of his lap. “I told (the team), it looked just like Kyle’s (Busch) lap, that’s for sure. I got a feel for it, it was just too tight right there. The setup was quite a bit tighter than ours. It looked just like it. We didn’t improve, but our car is gonna be fine tomorrow. We know that. This is a track you can pass. We’re looking forward to that part of it. Friday has just never been our strong suit and so we gotta battle back again.”
Carl Edwards, a Chase driver but no longer in contention for the championship, was second fastest in qualifying with a lap at 176.725 mph.
Jamie McMurray, this year’s Daytona 500 winner, was third in qualifying. He was followed by Bill Elliott in the Wood Brothers Racing Ford.
A.J. Allmendinger of Richard Petty Motorsports, was fifth.
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