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All-Star qualifying: Johnson earns pole

CONCORD, N.C. (May 15, 2009)—Jimmie Johnson scored the top spot for Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star race after turning in the fastest lap during Friday’s qualifying session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Johnson circled the 1.5-mile quad-oval in his No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet and made the required four-tire pit stop in 121.416 seconds on Friday afternoon. This is Johnson’s first pole position in eight all-star events.

Saturday’s race “is a lot about bragging rights,” said Johnson, a two-time all-star race winner. “And I think with track position as important as it’s going to be in the race, to be where we are is a great situation, and we focused on it hard today and everybody did their job. So I’m real proud of the team. We worked as a unit today and executed on all fronts. I’m very pleased with that, and I look forward to the race.”

All three of Johnson’s teammates join him in the top 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 The Dale Jr. Foundation/AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, scored the fourth-place starting position. A former race winner, Earnhardt became the first rookie to win the event when he went to Victory Lane in 2000.

Mark Martin, who will be making his 20th start in the 25-year-old all-star race, will line up fifth for Saturday’s event in his No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet.

Jeff Gordon, a two-time all-star race winner, will start sixth driving the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet.

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