Johnson Stays Hot In Phoenix

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Jimmie Johnson continued his recent mastery of Phoenix International Raceway by winning the pole Friday in qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500.

Johnson, who has won the last two Sprint Cup Series races held at the one-mile desert track, turned a lap of 134.725 mph in his Hendrick Motorsports Lowe's Chevrolet.

It was the series point leaders 19th career Sprint Cup pole.

"This is one of our better tracks,” Johnson said. “I think history shows that Homestead’s been better—has been better for the Roush guys—so I want to leave here without using any points. If I get to 56 points and end up 162 ahead, right on. I mean that’s the ultimate goal. But the goal is to outrun (Carl Edwards), wherever that is.”

Jamie McMurray continued his recent late season surge by qualifying second.

Kurt Busch, David Reutimann and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top five.

Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Paul Menard and Mark Martin completed the top 10 qualifiers.

Carl Edwards, who trails Johnson by 106 points in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship qualified 16th.

"I really like this track,” said Edwards. “We’ve been very fast here in the past. It’s a really fun race and I feel good about it.”

Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 will take the green flag at 3:45 p.m. (ET).

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