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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, qualified 10th for Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway. Johnson turned a lap of 51.409 seconds at 175.067 mph on the 2.5-mile triangle in Saturday’s time trials.
“The car was awesome,” said Johnson, who swept both 2004 Sprint Cup events at Pocono and has nine top-five finishes in 21 career starts at the track. “I made a huge mistake, so I’m pretty disappointed in myself for being so aggressive and I cost us a shot at the pole. Still, with one huge mistake and then a second mistake trying to make up for what I lost, I still ended up 10th. We have a very fast racecar and I’m just disappointed in myself for driving too hard.”
Juan Pablo Montoya captured his eighth career Sprint Cup pole, his first of the season and his first at Pocono by posting a lap of 51.124 seconds at 176.043 mph. Montoya is the 15th different pole winner this season and he is now locked into the 2013 Shootout at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Denny Hamlin will start on the outside of row one as he timed in at 51.196 seconds at 175.795 mph. Paul Menard was third (51.256 seconds at 175.627 mph), while Kasey Kahne (51.300 seconds at 175.439 mph) and Marcos Ambrose (51.302 seconds at 175.432 mph) rounded out the top-five.
Forty-four drivers attempted to qualify for the Pennsylvania 400. The lone driver not making the cut in the 43-car field was Stephen Leicht.
As far as manufacturers went, Chevrolet took the top spot via Montoya’s pole run. Toyota was next-best at the hands of Hamlin. Ford was the third-fastest make thanks to Ambrose, while 25th-quick Sam Hornish Jr. (51.866 seconds at 173.524 mph) carried the flag for Dodge.
The Pennsylvania 400 gets underway at 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with a pre-race show at noon.