Johnson Continues Championship Charge
AVONDALE, Ariz. – Jimmie Johnson continued his charge towards a sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship by winning the pole Friday for the AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix Int’l Raceway.
Johnson’s track record lap of 25.858 seconds at 139.222 mph gave him his third pole of the season ahead of Sunday’s penultimate event for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Johnson currently holds a seven-point advantage over Matt Kenseth in the series standings.
Johnson was happy to get a good staring position and the first pit stall for Sunday. “I knew we had a fast car in practice and it’s tough to back it up. It’s a very tough field and a very tough industry and I’m proud of the effort across the board at Hendrick Motorsports to get it done today. We did ourselves a lot of favors here today by getting the pole, having that first pit stall, and track position to start the race with. A lot of things will be in our favor, but we still have to go out there and get to work to get the job done on Sunday. ”
Kenseth qualified 14th in the No. 20 Toyota out of the Joe Gibbs Racing stable.
Kenseth was not happy with his qualifying lap but seemed pleased with the car overall. “We had pretty good speed in the first practice. We did last time we were here too, and I didn’t do very well qualifying so we didn’t really get a very good lap there. But, I think we’ll be okay for the race.”
Denny Hamlin qualified second, followed by Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon. Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. completed the top 10.