Johnson To Start 600 From The Pole
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
CONCORD, N.C. – Jimmie Johnson started his bid to win Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 Sprint Cup race by winning the pole on Thursday evening.
Johnson had a pole winning speed of 194.911 miles per hour in the final of three rounds of knockout qualifying to bag the pole.
It was the first pole of the season for Johnson and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team, who are still looking for their first victory of the season.
“Nice to have a fast car off the truck,” Johnson said. “To have my fastest lap on the third session today was kind of mind-boggling.”
He will be looking for his seventh victory at CMS on Sunday. Two of those wins were won from the pole.
“We’ve won a lot from (starting) at the back,” Johnson said.
Second in qualifying was Brad Keselowski of Team Penske, who had a lap at 194.567.
Kasey Kahne, Johnson’s teammate, was third.
Rounding out the top five were Danica Patrick and Clint Bowyer.
Kevin Harvick ended the first round on top of the heap. But in the final round, he failed to log a speed as he didn’t start his lap until after time had expired.
Also not getting out before the final session ended was Matt Kenseth.
Several top drivers who didn’t advance to the second round said hot temperatures during the day that turned cooler for qualifying threw their setups way off. Too tight, several said.
“I was shocked” by his slow qualifying effort, Jeff Gordon said. “I went into the first turn and the nose of the car never even thought about turning.”
In the second round, it was Patrick moving to the top with a lap at 194.595 mph. Behind her at 194.510 was Kyle Busch while Denny Hamlin was third.No Comment