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Jimmie Johnson wins pole for NASCAR season finale

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Nextel Cup
November 16, 2007

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Jimmie Johnson
CIA Stock Photo

HOMESTEAD, FL – Reigning Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who holds an 86-point lead over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon heading into the season-ending Ford 400, got off to a great start Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, winning his fourth pole of the season and the 13th of his career.

"We're doing what we need to do on Friday," Johnson said. "We'll just look forward to tomorrow and try to get the car driving as good tomorrow leading into Sunday's race.

"I think it's going to be important to have a comfortable car," added Johnson, who qualified at 176.788 mph on the 1.5-mile oval. "I fall into a rut of dealing with a car that's a little bit on the loose side at times, and hanging onto the car at times. It's my off-road background.

"I want to make sure I have it good and comfortable for me so if I start freaking out in the middle of the race, or I've got to go, I can go and not have to worry about it."

The pole virtually assured Johnson of earning the five-point bonus for leading at least one race lap Sunday. If he does lead a lap, Johnson only needs to finish 19th or better to win the title, regardless of what Gordon, starting 11th, does.

Gordon, who was hoping for a much stronger qualifying effort, was resigned to the fact he won't win the title.

"This weekend, there's very little pressure on us," the four-time Cup champion said. "We're going to finish no worse than second in the points and, unless a miracle happens, we're not going to win the championship.

"Our focus now is on winning this race. The pressure is all on Johnson," added Gordon, who qualified at 175.171.

Johnson looked confident and totally relaxed after qualifying ended.

"It was a long week, with so many things to do and I can't tell you how much just getting in a racecar helped," Johnson said. "I got in the car and everything is right, it feels good. I'm doing my job. Let's just get on with it.

"We're just trying to keep it simple. Do everything the way it's supposed to be done."

Results

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 176.788 30.545 Leader
2 12 Ryan Newman Dodge ALLTEL 176.569 30.583 -0.038
3 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Dodge Dealers Lifetime Powertrain Warranty / UAW 176.350 30.621 -0.076
4 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT NANO Technology 176.074 30.669 -0.124
5 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 175.942 30.692 -0.147
6 01 Mark Martin Chevrolet U.S. Army 175.850 30.708 -0.163
7 6 David Ragan* Ford AAA "Show Your Card and Save" 175.850 30.708 -0.163
8 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 175.707 30.733 -0.188
9 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T Mobility 175.661 30.741 -0.196
10 99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot 175.370 30.792 -0.247
11 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 175.171 30.827 -0.282
12 38 David Gilliland Ford M&M's 175.148 30.831 -0.286
13 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Budweiser 175.029 30.852 -0.307
14 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet The Home Depot 174.995 30.858 -0.313
15 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 174.803 30.892 -0.347
16 109 Sterling Marlin Chevrolet Miccosukee Resort & Gaming 174.786 30.895 -0.350
17 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 174.774 30.897 -0.352
18 5 Kyle Busch Chevrolet Kellogg's / CARQUEST 174.582 30.931 -0.386
19 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 174.565 30.934 -0.389
20 36 Johnny Benson Toyota 360 OTC 174.560 30.935 -0.390
21 25 Casey Mears Chevrolet National Guard / GMAC 174.554 30.936 -0.391
22 70 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet Yellow Trans. 174.531 30.940 -0.395
23 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 174.503 30.945 -0.400
24 18 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Interstate Batteries 174.368 30.969 -0.424
25 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 174.340 30.974 -0.429
26 44 Dale Jarrett Toyota UPS 174.340 30.974 -0.429
27 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 174.193 31.000 -0.455
28 10 Patrick Carpentier Dodge Valvoline / Stanley Tools 174.098 31.017 -0.472
29 06 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 174.076 31.021 -0.476
30 40 David Stremme Dodge Target 174.048 31.026 -0.481
31 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Dodge Dealers Lifetime Powertrain Warranty / UAW 174.020 31.031 -0.486
32 11 Denny Hamlin Chevrolet FedEx Express 173.986 31.037 -0.492
33 42 Juan Montoya* Dodge Texaco / Havoline 173.829 31.065 -0.520
34 66 Jeremy Mayfield Chevrolet Best Buy 173.818 31.067 -0.522
35 00 David Reutimann* Toyota Burger King 173.773 31.075 -0.530
36 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Betty Crocker 173.762 31.077 -0.532
37 16 Greg Biffle Ford Dish Network 173.661 31.095 -0.550
38 88 Ricky Rudd Ford Snickers 172.889 31.234 -0.689
39 15 Paul Menard* Chevrolet Johns Manville / Menards 172.800 31.250 -0.705
40 45 Kyle Petty+ Dodge Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil 172.331 31.335 -0.790
41 7 Robby Gordon+ Ford Camping World/ RVs.com 172.243 31.351 -0.806
42 96 Tony Raines+ Chevrolet DLP HDTV 151.732 35.589 -5.044
43 21 Bill Elliott Ford Motorcraft Champion's Provisional
Did Not Qualify
44 84 A.J. Allmendinger* Toyota Red Bull 173.695 31.089 -0.544
45 49 John Andretti Dodge OBOVO.com 172.745 31.260 -0.715
46 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing 172.739 31.261 -0.716
47 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 172.612 31.284 -0.739
48 4 Todd Bodine Chevrolet Lucas Oil / State Water Heaters 172.315 31.338 -0.793
49 208 Burney Lamar Dodge rhino's energy drink - - -

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

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