Johnson edges Allmendinger for Dover pole
By: By Reid Spencer, Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service, Superior Telegram
DOVER, Del. — The best medicine for a bad run is a victory the next time out, and Jimmie Johnson took the first step in that direction Friday at Dover International Speedway.
With a lap at 155.736 mph (23.116 seconds), Johnson won the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday’s AAA 400 Sprint Cup Series race at the Monster Mile, edging AJ Allmendinger (155.642 mph) for the top starting spot.
Mark Martin, Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, initially qualified third but will start 42nd because his time was disallowed after the gas pressure in the right rear shock of his No. 5 Chevrolet was found to be too high in inspection.
Accordingly, Martin Truex Jr. (155.353 mph) will start third, followed by points leader Denny Hamlin and Juan Pablo Montoya.
“Certainly, this was a step in the right direction in momentum,” said Johnson, who finished 25th last Sunday at New Hampshire after a loose wheel forced him to the pits for an unscheduled green-flag stop. “Last weekend, we ran much better than where we finished. It stinks that we finished where we did, but there’s nothing we can really do about it, and to come out this weekend and qualify on the pole starts the weekend off on the right foot.
“It really creates a good situation for us in the race, having that first pit stall. Track position is very, very important here. It seems to be more important as each weekend goes by and each year goes by. … The best way to get track position is by qualifying on the front row, or up front, and we did that.”
The pole was Johnson’s second of the year, his third at Dover and the 25th of his career.
Johnson and Hamlin are the only drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in the top five. Greg Biffle qualified sixth, Kurt Busch eighth, Carl Edwards 10th, Kyle Busch 11th, Matt Kenseth 14th, Jeff Gordon 15th, Clint Bowyer 24th, Tony Stewart 25th, Jeff Burton 27th and Kevin Harvick 33rd.
Allmendinger thinks his car will race as well as it qualified.
“We went out there (in practice) and were really fast in race trim, I felt,” said Allmendinger, who drives the No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports. “We did a couple of runs there and went right into qualifying trim and went really fast. I would have liked to have had the pole.
“When you’ve got the 48 (Johnson) behind you (in the qualifying order), it’s tough to hold on, but the confidence that my race team and I are building together is the most important thing.”
Jeff Green, Josh Wise and Ted Musgrave failed to qualify for the 43-car field.