Aug 2, 2013, 8:33 PM EDT
One weekend after a slow final stop cost him the Brickyard 400, Jimmie Johnson has put himself on the pole for Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway after posting a track-record lap at 180.654 miles per hour. Inspection issues once again kept Johnson from qualifying in his original spot on the order (24th), causing him to be the 28th driver to make a run instead according to NASCAR.com.
“We had to go through a second time,” said Johnson, who noted that he had a beneficial bit of cloud cover to aid him during his attempt. “The left-rear tow was off a whopping one-thousandth of an inch. We had to go through again and rolled up there and ran our lap.”
Three weeks ago at New Hampshire, Johnson was late for qualifying and posted the second-fastest time but was disqualified in post-race inspection, as his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was found to have too low of a ride height.
But Johnson, who won at Pocono earlier this summer, will have clear track ahead of him on Sunday. The same goes for Kyle Busch, who qualified second with a lap at 180.639 mph – or four one-thousandths of a second off of Johnson’s time.
“I wish we would’ve went later,” said Busch. “I think we would’ve had a better race track with 10 degrees cooler at least. But, it was about all I could get.”
Row 2 will feature Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman, who took advantage of Johnson’s misfortune and won last weekend at Indianapolis. The third row will have Kurt Busch and Joey Logano, followed by Greg Biffle and Marcos Ambrose in Row 4, and Denny Hamlin and Aric Almirola in Row 5.
Other notables include defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski in 11th, current Chase wild card holders Tony Stewart and Martin Truex Jr. in 20th and 26th respectively, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 25th, and Danica Patrick in 34th.