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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, qualified 20th for the Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Johnson turned a lap of 28.610 seconds at 133.128 mph on the 1.058-mile oval.
“I really don’t know what happened,” said Johnson, who has three Sprint Cup wins at New Hampshire (July 2003, September 2003 and June 2010). “We just weren’t good. I don’t know if track temperature had something to do with it. The Lowe’s Chevy was fast when the sun was out and when it got cooler we weren’t as fast. And it was definitely cooler when we went out for qualifying.”
Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jeff Gordon, captured his 72nd career Sprint Cup pole, his second of the season and his fourth at New Hampshire by posting a lap of 28.232 seconds at 134.911 mph. Gordon remained third on the all-time Sprint Cup pole list, but is still well back of second-place David Pearson, who has 113 poles. Richard Petty is the leader with 123 pole positions.
Kyle Busch will start on the outside of row one as he timed in at 28.265 seconds at 134.753 mph. Tony Stewart was third (28.304 seconds at 134.568 mph), while Brian Vickers (28.322 seconds at 134.483 mph) and Carl Edwards (28.349 seconds at 134.354 mph) rounded out the top-five.
Forty-seven drivers attempted to qualify for the Sylvania 300. Those not making the cut in the 43-car field were Scott Riggs, Jason Leffler, Jeff Green and Josh Wise.
As far as manufacturers went, Chevrolet took the top spot via Gordon’s pole run. Toyota was next best at the hands of Busch, while Ford was the third fastest make thanks to Edwards. Tenth-quick Dave Blaney (28.453 seconds at 133.863 mph) carried the flag for Dodge. Blaney is subbing for Sam Hornish Jr., who is at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event. Hornish will be back at New Hampshire on Sunday to race in the Sylvania 300.
The Sylvania 300 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.