While everybody is focused on when Jimmie Johnson will score his first victory of the season to attempt to lock himself in the 2014 Chase for the Championship, Johnson is showing speed on the track as he won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The lap of 27.705 seconds, 194.911 mph gives six-time his 33rd career pole award.
“We’ve watched other cars get faster through qualifying sessions,’’ Johnson said. “That’s something the (Hendrick Motorsports) cars really haven’t had a lot. We did that tonight. We’re hitting on some things that should help us run faster longer.’’
As the critics continue to express their comments about the zero in the win-column, Johnson’s confidence remains high in his race team.
“We don’t care what anybody says about this race team, we know what we’re capable of,” Johnson said. “We knew we had a great race car today and wanted to take advantage of it. We executed and we did our jobs.
“Qualifying days usually aren’t our best, but when we qualify well, we know we’re going to race well, so I’m real optimistic about Sunday. I look forward to giving it a good run Sunday night.”
Brad Keselowski would qualify second for his seventh front row start of the season.
“We’ve qualified second a lot this year,” Keselowski said. “Doggone it, it’s like kissing your sister. We’re running where we want to run up front, we just have to get a little better finishes.”
Kasey Kahne qualified third for his fourth top-10 start of the season while Danica Patrick surprised everyone with a fourth place qualifying effort. Clint Bowyer would round out the top-five.
“Great day, great starting spot … let’s hope we can do more of what we did at Kansas,’’ Patrick said.
Denny Hamlin qualified sixth, followed by Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Marcos Ambrose and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top 12 after failing to post a time in the final five-minute session. Both drivers both failed to cross the start-finish line and start their lap before the clock ran out as they tried to wait it out as long as possible.
“I’m surprised,’’ Kahne said of Harvick and Kenseth. “That would not go over well if we missed it.’’
Harvick’s crew chief, Rodney Childers, apologized on Twitter for the mistake.
We had a big miscommunication tonight and didn’t get @KevinHarvick off of pit road in time to run a lap in the final qualifying session.
— Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) May 23, 2014
Apologies to all of the sponsors and fans. We will make sure it doesn’t happen again. — Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) May 23, 2014
@KevinHarvick and the 4 car was really fast all day. We look fwd to practice on Saturday and the Coke 600..
— Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) May 23, 2014
All-Star Race winner Jamie McMurray will start 26th, with points leader Jeff Gordon starting 27th. Gordon spoke after that he was disappointed in his qualifying effort and the lack of speed that he had compared to his Hendrick Motorsports teammmates.
Unfortunately, Dave Blaney and J.J. Yeley would both miss the show.
Charlotte Motor Speedway
55th Annual Coca-Cola 600
|1||Jimmie Johnson||Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet||27.705||194.911||48|
|2||Brad Keselowski||Miller Lite Ford||27.754||194.567||2|
|3||Kasey Kahne||FrmrsInsrnce Chev||27.890||193.618||5|
|4||Danica Patrick||GoDaddy Chevrolet||27.931||193.334||10|
|5||Clint Bowyer||5-Hour ENERGY Toyota||27.944||193.244||15|
|6||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Office Toyota||27.962||193.119||11|
|7||Kyle Busch||M&M’s Toyota||27.966||193.092||18|
|8||Joey Logano||Pennzoil Platinum Ford||28.056||192.472||22|
|9||Marcos Ambrose||Twisted Tea Ford||28.173||191.673||9|
|10||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||National Guard/Superman Chevrolet||28.232||191.272||88|
|11||Kevin Harvick||Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet||27.841||193.959||4|
|12||Matt Kenseth||Home Depot Husky Toyota||27.994||192.898||20|
|13||Aric Almirola||United States Air Force Ford||28.024||192.692||43|
|14||Trevor Bayne(i)||Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford||28.054||192.486||21|
|15||Martin Truex||Furniture Row Chevrolet||28.061||192.438||78|
|16||Brian Vickers||Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota||28.121||192.027||55|
|17||Justin Allgaier #||Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet||28.133||191.945||51|
|18||Tony Stewart||Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet||28.136||191.925||14|
|19||Brian Scott(i)||Shore Lodge Chevrolet||28.142||191.884||33|
|20||AJ Allmendinger||Bush’s Beans Chevrolet||28.150||191.829||47|
|21||Paul Menard||Serta/Menards Chevrolet||28.168||191.707||27|
|22||Carl Edwards||Fastenal Ford||28.424||189.980||99|
|23||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Fastenal Ford||28.540||189.208||17|
|24||Greg Biffle||Fastenal Ford||29.293||184.344||16|
|25||Kyle Larson #||Target Chevrolet||28.296||190.840||42|
|26||Jamie McMurray||Cessna Chevrolet||28.383||190.255||1|
|27||Jeff Gordon||Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet||28.470||189.673||24|
|28||Kurt Busch||Haas Automation Chevrolet||28.488||189.553||41|
|29||Alex Bowman #||Dr.Pepper Toyota||28.494||189.514||23|
|30||Michael McDowell||JPO Absorbents Ford||28.549||189.148||95|
|31||Cole Whitt #||Speed Stick Toyota||28.554||189.115||26|
|32||Austin Dillon #||Cheerios Chevrolet||28.562||189.062||3|
|33||David Gilliland||Love’s Travel Stops Ford||28.612||188.732||38|
|34||Casey Mears||GEICO Chevrolet||28.642||188.534||13|
|35||David Ragan||Taco Bell Ford||28.654||188.455||34|
|36||Ryan Truex #||Burger King Toyota||28.659||188.422||83|
|37||Josh Wise||Phil Parsons Racing Chevrolet||OP||188.258||98|
|38||Joe Nemechek(i)||Testoril Toyota||OP||187.963||66|
|39||Michael Annett #||Pilot Flying J Chevrolet||OP||187.806||7|
|40||Landon Cassill(i)||Hillman Racing Chevrolet||OP||187.559||40|
|42||Ryan Newman||Quicken Loans Chevrolet||OP||186.890||31|
|43||Blake Koch(i)||Supportmilitary.org Ford||OP||185.931||32|