Johnson Gets First Pole Since 2010
SPARTA, Ky. – Jimmie Johnson took advantage of constantly changing track conditions Friday to claim the pole for Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.
Johnson’s 29.70-second lap, a track record, around the 1.5-mile asphalt oval came after a wind storm rolled through the track. Winds toppled everything from trash cans to large spectator tents in the infield and forced a short stoppage during qualifying.
Once qualifying resumed, temperatures had dropped approximately 20 degrees, giving all the remaining drivers who hadn’t yet qualified an edge. Johnson took advantage, earning his first pole since 2010.
“Very comfortable lap, very good lap,” said Johnson. “Qualifying has not been our strong suit over the last few years so very happy to get this pole today.
“My Chevy is bad fast and I’m looking forward to a good race,” Johnson added.
Kyle Busch, the last driver to qualify, came up just short of earning the pole. He’ll start second after clocking in at 29.76 seconds. Busch is the defending race winner at Kentucky Speedway.
Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman completed the top five in qualifying.
The go-or-go-homers that qualified for the race were Scott Speed, Joe Nemechek, Josh Wise, David Stremme, Michael McDowell, Scott Riggs, Mike Bliss and Stephen Leicht.
J.J. Yeley and Mike Skinner failed to qualify.