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Jimmie Johnson qualified fifth for the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. The driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet turned a lap of 21.295 seconds at 126.790 mph on the .75-mile oval.
“I can promise you it wasn’t from a lack of effort,” said Johnson, who narrowly missed earning the pole position. “I didn’t make my second lap because I was pinned on effort level there (laughs). For the time of day, good lap, picked up right around a second from practice. Things feel good, so we’ll get this Lowe’s Chevy dusted off and ready to go for tomorrow night.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr., captured his 11th career Sprint Cup pole, his first of the season and his first at Richmond by posting a lap of 21.256 seconds at 127.023 mph.
Earnhardt’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jeff Gordon, will start on the outside of row one after turning a lap of 21.263 seconds at 126.981 mph. Regan Smith was third (21.275 seconds at 126.910 mph), while Clint Bowyer (21.292 seconds at 126.808 mph) and Johnson round out the top-five.
Forty-five drivers attempted to qualify for the Federated Auto Parts 400. The drivers not making the cut in the 43-car field were Mark Green and J.J. Yeley.
Chevrolet took the top spot among manufacturers by grabbing three of the top-five positions, including the pole by Earnhardt. Toyota was the lone make to crack the top-five thanks to Bowyer. Dodge was third-fastest thanks to 10th-quick Brad Keselowski (21.336 seconds at 126.547 mph). Carl Edwards carried the flag for Ford with the 16th-fastest lap (21.423 seconds at 126.033 mph).
The Federated Auto Parts 400 gets underway at 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday with live coverage provided by ABC beginning with a pre-race show at 7 p.m.