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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, qualified 19th for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Johnson turned a lap of 50.454 seconds at 189.797 mph on the 2.66-mile oval.
“We didn’t make any qualifying runs yesterday,” said Johnson, who has two Sprint Cup wins at Talladega. “We just did some single-car stuff. We didn’t want to put the car at risk and the rules package hasn’t changed. So, we’re just kind of going in blind tomorrow. The heat is the heat. And we’re going to have to manage it for sure. So, it’s going to be tough to keep the cars cool with how hot it’s going to be.”
Jeff Gordon captured his 71st career Sprint Cup pole, his first of the season and his third at Talladega by posting a lap of 49.973 seconds at 191.623 mph.
A.J. Allmendinger will start on the outside of row one as he timed in at 50.107 seconds at 191.111 mph. Marcos Ambrose was third (50.126 seconds at 191.039 mph), while Aric Almirola (50.141 seconds at 190.981 mph) and Kasey Kahne (50.196 seconds at 190.772 mph) rounded out the top five.
Forty-four drivers attempted to qualify for the Aaron’s 499. The lone driver not making the cut in the 43-car field was J.J. Yeley.
As far as manufacturers went, Chevrolet took the top spot via Gordon’s pole run. Dodge was next best at the hands of Allmendinger. Ford was the third-fastest make thanks to Ambrose, while ninth-quick Michael Waltrip (50.335 seconds at 190.245 mph) carried the flag for Toyota.
The Aaron’s 499 gets underway at 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with a pre-race show at noon.