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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, qualified on the pole for Sunday’s Geico 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Johnson turned a lap of 29.945 seconds at 185.139 mph on the 1.5-mile oval to score his 27th career Sprint Cup, his second of the season and his second at Chicago. Johnson is now tied with Terry Labonte for 24th on the all-time Sprint Cup pole list.
“It’s too early in the Chase to be over-the-top excited or down-and-out if you didn’t qualify like you wanted to today,” said Johnson, who has never won at Chicagoland Speedway. “Qualifying makes the race so much easier for you. You know you’re pit stall is going to be right and clearly track position at the start of the race is going to be in your favor. It’s not a ‘must’ to win the race or be a threat for the championship but again it just makes life so much easier. I’m very happy that we got a pole. Qualifying isn’t typically my strong suit but we laid down a good one today. I’m excited to take the changes we made in qualifying today and apply that to our race set-up. I think it will give us just what we need for Sunday.”
Aric Almirola will start on the outside of row one as he timed in at 29.567 seconds at 182.636 mph. Matt Kenseth was third (29.616 seconds at 182.334 mph), while Dale Earnhardt Jr. (29.695 seconds at 182.070 mph) and Carl Edwards (29.663 seconds at 182.045 mph) rounded out the top-five.
Forty-seven drivers attempted to qualify for the Geico 400. Those not making the cut in the 43-car field were Scott Riggs, Reed Sorenson, J.J. Yeley, and Jason Leffler.
As far as manufacturers went, Chevrolet took the top spot via Johnson’s pole run. Ford was next best at the hands of Almirola. Toyota was the third-fastest make thanks to eighth-fastest Denny Hamlin (29.682 seconds at 181.928 mph), while 13th-quick Brad Keselowski (29.751 seconds at 181.507 mph) carried the flag for Dodge.
The Geico 400 gets underway at 2 p.m. EDT on Sunday with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at 1 p.m.