Jimmie Johnson sets Kentucky track record with pole

Jimmie Johnson hasn’t had a pole in the Sprint Cup Series since September,2010 at Dover International Speedway.

That changed Friday when Johnson took the pole for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at the Kentucky Speedway.

With his lap of 181.818 mph, Johnson became the first driver to record a pole-winning lap in a Cup car at Kentucky after last year’s session was rained out.

“Very comfortable lap,” said Johnson to the Speed crew’s after he won the pole. “Very good lap. Qualifying has not been our strong suite over the last two years.

“I haven’t been off the ground in quite some time, and there’s a huge jump below the race track on the apron just past the start/finish line.

“My Chevy’s bad fast, and I’m looking forward to the race.”

Although Johnson has 57 career Sprint Cup wins to his credit, there are five tracks where he has yet to take the checkered flag first at. Kentucky Speedway is one of them.

“I’ve had a lot of crashes here over the years,” Johnson continued. “We used to test here a lot back in the day and turns three and four have taken quite a few 48 race cars.

“So to run well last year was really good for me, and I came back with a lot of confidence.

“I think we’re on the right track now.”

The qualifying session was halted midway through due to high wind gusts at the speedway, causing fans to evacuate the grandstands for safety concerns.

Once the session resumed, speeds picked up and the starting field for the Quaker State 400 was set.

Starting alongside Johnson is the driver who won the inaugural race one year ago, Kyle Busch.

Rounding out the top-10 starters for Saturday night’s race are; Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, and Martin Truex Jr.

Mike Skinner and J.J. Yeley were the two drivers to miss the field of 43 for the race.

Quaker State 400 Starting Lineup: 

1: Jimmie Johnson

2: Kyle Busch

3: Denny Hamlin

4: Kevin Harvick

5: Ryan Newman

6: Clint Bowyer

7: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

8: Brad Keselowski

9: Jeff Gordon

10: Martin Truex Jr.

11: Greg Biffle

12: Marcos Ambrose

13: Aric Almirola

14: Kurt Busch

15: Paul Menard

16: A.J. Allmendinger

17: Jamie McMurray

18: Joey Logano

19: Kasey Kahne

20: Matt Kenseth

21: Casey Mears

22: Tony Stewart

23: Landon Cassill

24: Scott Speed

25: Carl Edwards

26: Regan Smith

27: Joe Nemechek

28: Bobby Labonte

29: Jeff Burton

30: Josh Wise

31: Juan Pablo Montoya

32: David Stremme

33: David Ragan

34: Travis Kvapil

35: Michael McDowell

36: Scott Riggs

37: Mike Bliss

38: David Reutimann

39: Michael Waltrip

40: David Gilliland

41: Ken Schrader

42: Dave Blaney

43: Stephen Leicht