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Jimmie Johnson wins pole for NASCAR All-Star race

by Pete McCole
Friday, May 15, 2009

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Jimmie Johnson
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
Jimmie Johnson claimed the top spot for Saturday night’s 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All Star race, notching his first career pole in eight starts in the winner-take-all event.

Friday’s unique qualifying session had each driver run three laps and a four-tire pit stop. Johnson and his Lowe’s Home Improvement crew posted a top lap of 121.416 seconds, including a 14.1 second pit stop to knock Dale Earnhardt Jr. out of the top spot.

Johnson, a perennial winner at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, will be looking for his third win in the all star event, and his eighth win overall at the 1.5-mile facility.

“Tonight's a lot about bragging rights,” said Johnson. “And I think with track position as important as it's going to be in the race, to be where we are is a great situation and we focused on it hard today and everybody did their job.

“I'm real proud of the team. We worked as a unit today and executed on all fronts. I'm very pleased with that and I look forward to it.”

Kurt Busch secured the second position with a total time of 122.187 seconds including a 13.1 second pit stop. Matt Kenseth will start third, followed by Earnhardt, Jr. and Mark Martin.

“The crew takes a lot of pride in having good pit stops on these kind of days and on race days, so it was pretty solid,” said Kenseth. “They’ve obviously won a couple of races for us and have had us in contention to win. We’ve been a little more inconsistent than we’d like, but they’ve been working really hard on it and our cars have been getting better and the pit stops are getting better, so I feel good about that.”

Several drivers posted laps times fast enough to start in the top five but fell victim to penalties on pit road.

Kyle Busch had the second position locked up until a five-second penalty for a loose lug nut knocked him to 13th, while Carl Edwards was hit with a 15 second penalty for having three loose lug nuts. Jeff Burton – whose crew won Thursday nights Pit Crew Challenge – and Clint Bowyer were both penalized for speeding on pit road.

Tony Stewart also suffered a miscue on pit road when he left his pit stall after only a two-tire stop. Stewart stopped and backed up back into his stall for his crew to complete the stop.

Denny Hamlin was the only driver not to complete his qualifying attempt after breaking a drive shaft leaving his pit stall.

The 18 starters in tomorrow night’s race will be joined by the two top finishers in the 40-lap Sprint Showdown which will be run prior to the all star race. An additional driver from the Sprint Showdown will advance to the all star race via the Sprint Fan Vote.

Lineup

POS

CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 44.475 121.416 Leader
2 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite "Taste Protector" 44.195 122.187 -0.771
3 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Dewalt 43.836 123.185 -1.769
4 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet The Dale Jr. Foundation / Amp Energy / National Guard 43.807 123.269 -1.853
5 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Kellogg's / Carquest 43.673 123.645 -2.229
6 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 43.429 124.341 -2.925
7 96 Bobby Labonte Ford Ask.com 43.424 124.356 -2.940
8 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 43.330 124.626 -3.210
9 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Pennzoil 43.290 124.741 -3.325
10 09 Brad Keselowski Chevrolet Miccosukee Resort & Gaming 43.204 124.987 -3.571
11 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 42.682 126.517 -5.101
12 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 42.681 126.519 -5.103
13 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 42.602 126.756 -5.340
14 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 39.473 136.802 -15.386
15 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Old Spice 39.191 137.788 -16.372
16 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 37.565 143.752 -22.336
17 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet BB&T 37.144 145.379 -23.963
18 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express - - -

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