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Johnson Nabs Third in ‘125’

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2004) – Jimmie Johnson will start sixth in Sunday’s Daytona 500 after finishing third in Thursday’s second Gatorade 125-mile qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway.

Johnson, who started seventh in the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, finished behind winner Elliott Sadler and runner-up Sterling Marlin.

The El Cajon, Calif., native improved his starting position by eight spots over his original effort of 14th, which he posted in Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series time trials.

Driving the No. 25 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet, Brian Vickers finished 20th in the same session, putting him 35th in Sunday’s race.  It will mark the rookie’s first-ever Daytona 500.

In the first of two ‘125s,’ two-time Cup Series champion Terry Labonte finished 18th in the No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevy, followed by Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo, in 21st.

They will line up 38th and 39th respectively on Sunday.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the first qualifying race of the afternoon.  He was followed by second-place Tony Stewart and third-place Jamie McMurray.

Scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. ET green flag on Sunday, Feb. 15, the Daytona 500 will be broadcast live on NBC (12 p.m. ET) and MRN Radio (12:45 p.m. ET).

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