Jimmie Johnson wins pole for Bristol night race

Posted: 20/08/2010 in NASCAR

Johnson tops in qualifying at Bristol

Jimmie Johnson picked up his first pole of the season by winning Friday’s qualifying for the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Johnson, who won at Bristol for the first time in March, posted a lap of 123.475 m.p.h. around the 0.533-mile, high-banked oval for his 24th career Sprint Cup Series pole, but his first since last year’s season-ending race at Homestead.

“We have a lot of things going in the right direction for us here,” Johnson said after claiming his first pole at Bristol. “We all know how important track position is, and your pit stall pick, so we have the best of both worlds starting on the front row. But we’ll have to be smart, because there’s no safe place on this racetrack.”

Johnson, the four-time defending series champion, knocked Carl Edwards off of the pole position shortly after Edwards’ qualifying lap of 122.937 m.p.h., which put him on the outside pole.

“I felt like the line I ran around the top was the line that was going to get the pole, but I watched Jimmie use the bottom, and I thought, ‘there’s no way, he’s going to be slow,’ but somehow he made it work, so those guys did a good job.”

Joey Logano qualified third, while Tony Stewart and David Reutimann rounded out the top-five. Reutimann suffered from food poisoning and had Aric Almirola drive his car during the first of two practices earlier in the day. Reutimann recuperated from his stomach ailment in time to participate in the final practice.

Ryan Newman took the sixth spot, followed by Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya, Martin Truex Jr. and A.J. Allmendinger.

Kevin Harvick, the current points leader, will start 28th. Harvick holds a 293-point advantage over second-place Jeff Gordon, who will start 26th, one position ahead of his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dave Blaney, Joe Nemechek, Kevin Lepage, J.J. Yeley, Brian Keselowski and Mike Bliss failed to qualify.

Saturday’s 500-lap race at Bristol is scheduled to start shortly after 7:30 p.m. (et).

– Stephen (DS LLC.)

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