Johnson Wins Golden Pole

40259Jpg
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - It's a new year but it has a familiar look to it.

Jimmie Johnson picked up right where he left off after his second consecutive title season a year ago by winning the Coors Light Pole for the 50th running of the Daytona 500.

Johnson's Lowe's Chevrolet topped the 53-car field in Sunday's windy qualifying session with a lap of 187.075 mph to claim his 14th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole.

It was Johnson's second Daytona 500 pole and now the 2006 champion of "The Great American Race" will look to become the first driver since Dale Jarrett in 2000 to win the season opener from the pole.

"I'm so proud of this race team," Johnson said. "We had everything aligned just right. We got all the speed out of a great engine, a great car. Last night we had a great race, but I'm really looking forward to seeing what this car can to in the Daytona 500."

Michael Waltrip claimed the outside front row starting spot after a lap of 186.734 mph in his NAPA Toyota Camry.

"All I wanted to be was the fastest car with a star besides it and I am that," Waltrip said. "I would venture to guess that Jimmie Johnson knew he was in the race when he got up this morning and I didn't. I'm going to have to think that I'm the happiest guy in Daytona."

Only Johnson and Waltrip's starting spots are secure for next Sunday. The rest of the line-up will be set after Thursday's Gatorade Duel at Daytona twin 150-mile qualifying races.

However, the top 35 teams from last year's owners' points are guaranteed a starting position in the Daytona 500, with the top two non-qualified cars in each Gatorade Duel advancing to the Daytona 500.

Filling the remainder of the field will be the three fastest non-qualified cars from Sunday's time trials, meaning that Nemechek and David Reutimann are guaranteed a position in the Daytona 500.

"This was an awesome day for anyone not locked into the top 35," Nemechek said. "To end up third, we sit around wondering what we could have done to have gone a tick faster. My congratulations to Michael Waltrip for running second - I didn't think he could have run that fast ­- and Jimmie Johnson for winning the pole."

The final starting position for the 500 will go to a non-qualified past champion, with either Kurt Busch, Dale Jarrett or Bill Elliott taking advantage of the provisional.

The Gatorade Duel at Daytona will take the green flag on Thurday at 2 p.m. (ET).

Photos

  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • Pure Michigan 400
  • © 2014 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites