Johnson Wins Pole For Allstate 400 At The Brickyard

Jimmie Johnson captured the pole for the prestigious Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Under partly cloudy skies and muggy temperatures in the low 80’s Johnson torched the track with a lap of 181.763 m.p.h., 49.515 seconds. In six career Allstate 400 at the Brickyard starts, Johnson’s previous best starting position was fifth. It is Johnson’s second Coors Light Pole of the year and Johnson’s 15th career pole in 239 NASCAR Sprint Cup races.

Mark Martin, qualified his U.S. Army Impala SS second fastest time with a lap of 181.393 m.p.h., 49.616 seconds tying his season-best qualifying effort of the season.

Ryan Newman qualified the Alltel Penske Racing Dodge third with a speed of 180.970 m.p.h. (49.732 sec.). On the outside of row two will be Kasey Kahne in the Gillett-Evernham Budweiser Dodge at a speed of 180.810 m.p.h. (49.776 sec.).

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, will roll-off fifth for the 160-lap/400-mile race. Gordon is the only four-time winner in NASCAR competition at IMS.

Rounding out the top-10 were Elliott Sadler-6th, Kurt Busch-7th, Jamie McMurray-8th, Carl Edwards-9th and Matt Kenseth-10th.

Johnson was impressed with the Brickyard pole today, however is focused on tomorrow’s race. “Only a win on Sunday would make this weekend better. I am grateful for such a great race car these guys prepared. Last two months we all worked very hard in making a lot of great progress. We will see what happens, we have these practices this afternoon and hopefully we get this Lowe’s Impala where we need it so we can be up front on Sunday.” Johnson remarked after qualifying.

Forever a perfectionist, Johnson thought he could had done better, “With each corner, you gain confidence in the car. I got through Turn 3 and was good; got through Turn 4 and came to the green and knew I had something special. I tried a little harder through (Turn) 1 and it stuck; got to (Turn) 2 and was too aggressive, it didn’t stick (laughs), got to (Turn) 3 and didn’t adjust enough and missed it a little bit and then once I got to (Turn) 4, I had it right again. This track is really difficult. Each turn may look very similar, but each turn is so different and it’s tough to put together one full clean lap.”

Martin was happy with his run and the car, however, like Johnson is focused on Sunday. “Thank goodness for a great team, DEI and the US Army team. That car was phenomenal. I just couldn’t believe it when I came off four coming for the green, I say ‘O man, we got something right here.’ Martin added, “I can’t think about it, I won’t let myself think about winning here at the Brickyard. I really really, really like to see Tony Gibson’s face in victory lane this year. We were so close at Phoenix and that disappoint broke all our hearts. This race team is due and they deserve it, I sure would like to go with them.”

2002 Brickyard 400 Champion Bill Elliott was among four that did not make the race. Elliott explained, “We just fought everything. It’s just a bad deal with the way we ended up. I don’t know. I think these guys have got a lot of good ideas, but until you go test and figure some of this stuff out, it’s just hard to unload. We lost 30 minutes of practice yesterday and sometimes you’re better off not to know – just go.”

Joining Elliott in missing the race were Johnny Sauter in the Fubar Carter Racing Dodge #08, Tony Raines in the Bob Jenkins owned Chevy #34 and Stanton Barrett in the NOS Energy Drink Chevy #50.

Marcos Ambrose who originally qualified 24th fastest will start at the rear of the field due to an engine change.

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