News & Media

Johnson makes another statement with Texas pole

November 02, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service,

FORT WORTH, Texas -- He did it again.

After winning from the pole last Sunday at Martinsville and grabbing the Chase for the Sprint Cup lead, Jimmie Johnson started the eighth Chase weekend in exactly the same way.


Race Lineup
2. G. Biffle190.382 28.364
3. Ky. Busch 190.128 28.402
4. C. Bowyer 190.067 28.411
5. M. Truex Jr. 189.994 28.422

Speeding around Texas Motor Speedway in 28.261 seconds, Johnson won the pole for Sunday's AAA Texas 500, edging Greg Biffle (190.382 mph) by .103 seconds.

The Coors Light Pole Award was Johnson's first at the 1.5-mile track, his fourth of the season and the 29th of his career. The 20th driver to make a qualifying attempt, Johnson picked up three-quarters of a second from practice earlier in the day.

After making his banzai run, Johnson sat in his car until the 26 drivers who followed him had completed time trials -- a "strategy" he employed with success last week at Martinsville.

"No way I'm superstitious," Johnson quipped after Martin Truex Jr., the 46th driver out, failed to top him. "Race car drivers are never superstitious. I've been doing this a long time, and more times often than not, the guy that sets the pace climbs out of the car to a microphone, and then, 'Oh, just knocked off the pole.'

"I tried this philosophy at Martinsville, and I'm not sure if it worked, but it kind of worked, so I figured I would stay in there the whole time, and it played out again."

Kyle Busch (190.127 mph) qualified third, followed by Clint Bowyer (190.067 mph) and Truex (189.994 mph). Brad Keselowski, who trails Johnson by two points with three races left, claimed the eighth starting spot, his best effort in time trials in the Chase so far.

"It feels like a pole," said Keselowski, who had qualified 22nd, 20th, 25th and 32nd in the previous four races. "It may not be a pole, but it feels like a pole to us. Our car has had a ton of speed since we've been here, in race trim, but qualifying trim has been our weakness all year.

"So I think that bodes very well for us come Sunday."

Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet wasn't up to speed when practice started, but the car improved as the session progressed.

"We didn't unload like we wanted to, and the track was so fast the first 15 minutes that we missed an opportunity to really post a time," Johnson said. "But as practice wore on, we improved the car, and the pace slowed up a lot, so we felt like we were in contention.


• Jimmie Johnson scored his 29th pole in his 397th start; Texas is the 17th different track at which he has won a pole.
• Jimmie Johnson scored his second consecutive pole and fourth of 2012; it ties Mark Martin and Kasey Kahne for most this season.
• Jimmie Johnson scored his first pole at Texas in his 19th race; hi previous best start was third in April 2007.
• Jimmie Johnson posted his 12th Chase pole, most of all drivers.
• Hendrick Motorsports scored its 189th pole; it's its sixth pole at Texas, most of all teams.
• Hendrick Motorsports scored its 11th pole of 2012, most of all teams; it has won the pole for seven of the past nine races.
• Chevrolet scored its 11th pole at Texas and 14th of 2012.
• Greg Biffle (second) posted his sixth front-row start of the season; it's his seventh consecutive top-10 start at Texas, including front-row starts in three of the past five races.
• Kyle Busch (third) matched his best Texas start in his 15th race.
• Clint Bowyer (fourth) has started in the top 10 for all but one of the eight Chase races of 2012.
• Martin Truex Jr. (fifth) posted his fifth top-10 start in 15 Texas races; he has finished in the top 10 in the past two Texas races.
• Joey Logano (sixth) posted his best Texas start in his ninth race.
• Trevor Bayne (seventh) posted his fourth top-10 start in 15 races in 2012.
• Brad Keseloski (eighth) matched his best Texas start for the third consecutive race; it's his best start of the 2012 Chase.
• Three drivers failed to make the race: Stephen Leicht, Kelly Bires and David Stremme.

"But I think it surprised us all a little bit to lay one down like that."