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Jimmie Johnson wins pole position at Pocono Raceway

LONG POND, Pa. – Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Planes Chevrolet SS, earned his third pole position at Pocono Raceway and the 31st of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career during Friday afternoon’s qualifying session at the 2.5-mile track. Johnson toured the track in 49.819 seconds at roughly 180.654 mph to set a new track record. Johnson started from the first position and went on to win the June 2013 event at Pocono as the field was set by owner points due to inclement weather. He previously qualified on the pole position in 2003 and 2008 at The Tricky Triangle.

Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will roll off from 18th, 22nd and 25th, respectively.

Hendrick Motorsports is the winningest organization at Pocono with 14 Cup victories. In 59 Cup races (193 starts) at the 2.5-mile racetrack, Hendrick Motorsports has gathered 57 top-five finishes and 100 top-10s. Johnson most recently won from the pole position at the Tricky Triangle in June 2013. With six victories, Gordon is ranked first among drivers all-time at Pocono. Gordon’s 965 laps led are the most among drivers all-time there.

Coverage of Sunday’s race is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN and MRN. Check local listings.

Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS
Qualified:
18th.
At Pocono: In 19 Sprint Cup starts at Pocono Raceway, Kahne has recorded one win, four top-five finishes and six top-10s. He has two career pole positions at the track and won from the top spot in June 2008 after leading 69 laps. He has completed 98.7 percent of laps attempted and has led 151 laps at the 2.5-mile track.
Most Recently: Most recently, Kahne started seventh and finished third at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28. With his sixth top-five finish of the Sprint Cup season, Kahne improved one position to ninth in the driver standings. He trails leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson by 176 points and holds a six point advantage over 11th-place Tony Stewart with six races remaining before the cutoff for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Kahne (On his team’s momentum.): “I feel good about the last two races, where we’re at and where we’re heading. There have been races where we’ve been fast and things have just happened the past month-and-a-half, but that’s racing. Those things happen. We have a good team though and a strong group. We’re still in that top 10 and have a lot to shoot for to make that Chase.”

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS
Qualified:
22nd.
At Pocono: Gordon, who will celebrate his 42nd birthday on Sunday, will make his 42nd start at Pocono Raceway this weekend. In 41 previous starts at the Tricky Triangle, Gordon has recorded six victories, two pole positions, 18 top-five finishes, 28 top-10s and has led 965 laps. His six victories and 965 laps led rank him first among drivers all-time at the 2.5-mile track.
Most recently:  Gordon began the 400-mile event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28 from the ninth position and came home with a seventh-place finish. With his eighth top-10 result of the 2013 season, Gordon improved two positions to 10th in the driver standings. He now leads 11th-place Tony Stewart by one point with six races remaining before the cutoff for the Chase.  
Gordon (On Pocono.): “This is a very challenging track, but I love racing here. In June, we had a fast race car but we struggled early in the run. We need to find some more speed early in the run while also having a fast car over the long runs.”

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Planes Chevrolet SS
Qualified:
First.
At Pocono:  In 23 starts at Pocono Raceway, Johnson has earned three victories, 10 top-five finishes, 16 top-10 finishes and an average finish of 8.7. Johnson started first and led a race-high 128 laps before taking the checkered flag in the most recent event at Pocono Raceway on June 9. 
Most recently:  Johnson rolled off from the second position on July 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After leading a race-high 73 laps, the driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet SS came home with a second-place finish. Johnson now leads second-place Clint Bowyer by 75 points in the driver standings.
Johnson (On why he was so fast in Turn 3 at the June race in Pocono): “In years past, I’ve learned a line and a rhythm to that corner that’s been useful. There is a lot of available grip with the fresh repave, and I think it’s kind of come my way. It’s coming back to the old way Turn 3 used to work for me, and that’s the way I drove it that day. Just got to be smart with it.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard Youth Foundation Chevrolet SS
Qualified:
25th.
At Pocono: In 27 Sprint Cup starts at Pocono Raceway, Earnhardt has recorded one pole position, six top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He has completed 97 percent of all the laps he’s attempted (4,956 laps of 5,107 total). The 38-year-old driver led laps in both Pocono races in 2012 and has led a total of 151 laps at the 2.5-mile track. Earnhardt has finished inside the top 10 in four of the last five races at Pocono.
Most recently:  Earnhardt rolled off from the 14th position at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28 and finished in the sixth position. With his 11th top-10 result of the season, Earnhardt remains fifth in the driver standings. He trails leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson by 124 points. Earnhardt’s 11 top-10 finishes this season rank him tied for third overall with Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick.
Earnhardt (On Pocono.):  “I am looking forward to getting back to Pocono. It’s become one of our best tracks. We had a good car there in June and had some pretty good speed. It should be a good weekend for the team.”

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