Johnson wins pole for 2nd time this season at Pocono; goes for season sweep

  • Article by: DAN GELSTON , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: August 2, 2013 - 5:35 PM

LONG POND, Pa. — Jimmie Johnson needed multiple attempts to make it through pre-qualifying inspection, then set a track record with a lap of 180.654 mph to win the pole Friday at Pocono Raceway.

Kyle Busch? He could only think the five-time Sprint Cup champion and crew were up to no good.

Johnson went 29th instead of his scheduled 24th spot, and the later start under the clouds as the track got faster may have given him an advantage over the cars that went out under the sun. Johnson had inspection issues last month at New Hampshire and used another late start to qualify third until his time was scrapped after the No. 48 failed inspection.

Are Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus just working around the rules? Or can they simply not get the car in tune in time for inspection?

"A lot of these other teams figure out how to play by the rules," Busch said. "It seems like there's one that's sometimes late. Quite often, more than the rest."

Busch will start second and Carl Edwards third. Ryan Newman, last week's race winner at the Brickyard, starts fourth. Kurt Busch is fifth.

Johnson is tied with Matt Kenseth with a series-high four wins this season and he leads the points standings as he chases his sixth championship. Johnson is in position to go for the season sweep at Pocono, where he won from the pole in June. Johnson took that pole after the field was set on points because rain washed out qualifying.

Johnson took the top spot this time after a second pass through inspection. NASCAR determined the tow on his Chevrolet was off by one-thousandth of an inch — just enough to make Busch suspicious.

"There's been some times this year where those guys go through four, five, six times and they're always late," Busch said. "Every time they're late, they're always fast. Maybe we need to be late."

Johnson, never one to exchange in a verbal spat, brushed off Busch's comments.

"It's only (a few) spots, now. It didn't make a difference," he said. "I wish there was some master plan behind it all. They're welcome to try it. They're welcome to experience the stress that goes with it. My heart was pounding out of my chest trying to get in the car and beat the clock. I don't wish that kind of stress on anybody. ... It's not what I want to go through."

Maybe not. But it worked at Pocono.

Johnson seemed poised to win the pole last week at Indianapolis until Newman topped him on the last qualifying attempt of the day. This time, he would not be denied as NASCAR saw its 11th track qualifying record set this season by the Gen-6 car.

Joey Logano's old mark of 179.598 mph was topped by six drivers, including Logano. Johnson also set the track record at Martinsville Speedway this season. He now has 31 poles in 420 career Cup starts.

"Track records are cool," Johnson said. "It makes all the drivers and teams smile."

Just not an irked Kyle Busch.

"I wish we went later," he said. "I think we would have had a better racetrack that was 10 degrees cooler, at least."

Johnson had the car to beat last week in Indianapolis until Newman spoiled the day with a surprise win. Johnson's crew botched the final pit stop that allowed Newman to pull away.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 106 FINAL
Boston 101
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
Indiana 94
Portland 110 FINAL
Sacramento 99
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Orlando 83
Oklahoma City 108 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Denver 92
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 3 FINAL
Florida 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Toronto 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Anaheim 3 FINAL
Dallas 1
St. Louis 5 FINAL(SO)
Vancouver 6
SMU 73 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
South Florida 55 FINAL
Houston 72
Marquette 66 FINAL
Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 66 FINAL
Wake Forest 69
Oregon 73 FINAL
Stanford 70
Purdue 61 FINAL
Ohio State 65
Arizona State 81 FINAL
Colorado 87
Washington St 67 FINAL
UCLA 72
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
UMBC 73
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 50 FINAL
Bradley 60
Southern Ill 74 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 70
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Wichita State 66
Minnesota 76 FINAL
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 80 FINAL
(16) Duke 81
Alabama 73 FINAL
Auburn 80
(9) Florida State 69 FINAL
Miami-Florida 55
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 52 FINAL
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 57 FINAL
Missouri State 86
Colorado 46 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 59
(19) Stanford 55 FINAL
Oregon 62
Marquette 82 FINAL
DePaul 99
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 60
Vanderbilt 49 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
(2) South Carolina 56 FINAL
(13) Kentucky 67
Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close