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Lowe's car rockets to Lowe's pole

Jimmie Johnson's Chevy is rocketship in Charlotte
Friday, October 16, 2009

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Crew Chief Chad Knaus mastermind's yet another Jimmie Johnson pole
Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR
After a persistent afternoon drizzle subsided, Jimmie Johnson put his No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet on the pole for Saturday night's NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.  Flying around 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway in 28.070 seconds (192.376 mph), Johnson posted the fastest qualifying lap ever run in NASCAR's new COT race car.

He broke the mark of 190.907 mph set by Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Texas in April 2008. Johnson edged Hendrick Motorsports teammate and second-place Chase driver Mark Martin (191.816 mph) for the top spot.

The pole was Johnson's third of the season and the 22nd of his career. His has five victories at Lowe's, including four consecutive in 2004-2005, but hasn't won at the track since it was repaved before the 2006 Coca-Cola 600.

"Man, it's fast," said Johnson, who would have started from the pole in the event of a qualifying rainout as the top car in the standings. "You're not out of the gas long. At the end of the straightaway, it doesn't seem that fast, because you're going so fast through the turn that the novelty has worn off once you get on the straightaway. ...

"Whatever is going on with the tire combination right now and the track, there's a ton of grip. These cars are putting up some fast laps."

Kasey Kahne (191.056 mph) will start third beside fourth-place qualifier Matt Kenseth (190.550 mph), the only non-Chase driver to crack the top six. Stewart-Haas teammates Tony Stewart (190.469 mph) and Ryan Newman (190.416 mph) earned the fifth and sixth starting positions during Thursday night's time trials.

Martin and Kahne also eclipsed the previous 2008 qualifying mark for the new car and expect the speed to carry over into Saturday night's race.

"An enormous amount of that speed was the track conditions," said Martin, who trails Johnson by 12 points with six races left in the Chase. "Surprisingly, it was really fast -- grippy -- for no rubber [after the rain]. Sometimes this place needs rubber to get better.

"I think it's going to be great [Saturday]. It's always great racing here and it continues to get better. And the teams continue to make the cars better."

Results

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 192.376 28.070 Leader
2 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Pop-Tarts / Carquest 191.816 28.152 -0.082
3 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 191.056 28.264 -0.194
4 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Carhartt 190.550 28.339 -0.269
5 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Old Spice / Office Depot 190.469 28.351 -0.281
6 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen / U.S. Army 190.416 28.359 -0.289
7 171 Mike Bliss Chevrolet TaxSlayer.com 190.409 28.360 -0.290
8 25 Brad Keselowski Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 190.362 28.367 -0.297
9 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen / DuPont 190.248 28.384 -0.314
10 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's / Susan G Komen for the Cure 190.248 28.384 -0.314
11 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Scary Fast Count Chocula 190.221 28.388 -0.318
12 20 Joey Logano* Toyota The Home Depot 190.027 28.417 -0.347
13 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Clorox / Kingsford / Bush's Beans 189.980 28.424 -0.354
14 202 David Gilliland Toyota Farm Bureau Insurance 189.727 28.462 -0.392
15 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 189.673 28.470 -0.400
16 82 Scott Speed* Toyota Red Bull 189.607 28.480 -0.410
17 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 189.567 28.486 -0.416
18 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Lysol 189.467 28.501 -0.431
19 7 Robby Gordon Toyota Freightliner Trucks 189.215 28.539 -0.469
20 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea Vodka 189.168 28.546 -0.476
21 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 189.129 28.552 -0.482
22 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 189.096 28.557 -0.487
23 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / Industrial Distribution Group 188.917 28.584 -0.514
24 96 Bobby Labonte Ford Ask.com / Search for the Cure 188.739 28.611 -0.541
25 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet DJ Hero 188.679 28.620 -0.550
26 44 A.J. Allmendinger Dodge Best Buy 188.646 28.625 -0.555
27 12 David Stremme Dodge Penske Racing 188.574 28.636 -0.566
28 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 188.554 28.639 -0.569
29 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 188.488 28.649 -0.579
30 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 188.206 28.692 -0.622
31 98 Paul Menard Ford Johns Manville / Menards 188.180 28.696 -0.626
32 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 188.029 28.719 -0.649
33 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA / Susan G Komen for the Cure 187.983 28.726 -0.656
34 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 187.885 28.741 -0.671
35 187 Joe Nemechek Toyota NEMCO Motorsports 187.780 28.757 -0.687
36 21 Bill Elliott Ford Warriors in Pink Powered by Ford 187.669 28.774 -0.704
37 43 Reed Sorenson Dodge Super 8 187.533 28.795 -0.725
38 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Stanley / Susan G Komen for the Cure 187.376 28.819 -0.749
39 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Amp Energy / National Guard 187.117 28.859 -0.789
40 113 Max Papis* Toyota GEICO 186.896 28.893 -0.823
41 34 John Andretti+ Chevrolet Taco Bell 185.707 29.078 -1.008
42 07 Casey Mears+ Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 184.773 29.225 -1.155
43 08 Terry Labonte Toyota Carter / Simo Racing Champion's Provisional
Did Not Qualify
44 36 Michael McDowell Toyota Wave Energy Drink 186.851 28.900 -0.830
45 09 Sterling Marlin Dodge Miccosukee Resort & Gaming 186.529 28.950 -0.880
46 66 Dave Blaney Toyota The Denny Hamlin Foundation 186.432 28.965 -0.895
47 37 Travis Kvapil Dodge Long John Silver's 185.153 29.165 -1.095
+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

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