Johnson wins second straight pole, to start first at Kansas

Updated: September 29, 2007, 4:19 AM ET
Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Jimmie Johnson will start his next race at Kansas Speedway where he thought he should have finished the last one.

Johnson, who on Friday earned the pole for Sunday's Lifelock 400, was leading late in the 2006 race when he pitted for a splash of gas with four laps to go. He was hit with a penalty for speeding on pit road, dropped to 14th and watched as Tony Stewart ran out of fuel and crawled across the finish line for the victory.

"I've put the majority of it behind me," said Johnson, who went on to win last year's Nextel Cup title and sits third in the Chase standings going into this weekend. "One thing that's on my mind from last year is how the end of this race was a fuel mileage race, and hopefully tomorrow we can make some adjustments to the car and make sure our carburetor is adjusted right."

It was the second straight pole and the 12th of his career for Johnson, who started first but finished 14th last week at Dover. He has one pole but no top-five finishes in five previous races at Kansas Speedway.

On Friday, Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet went around the 1.5-mile tri-oval at a top speed of 175.063 mph. Ryan Newman's Dodge qualified second at 174.893 mph, but the car failed inspection because the roof was too low.

Newman will start Sunday's race from the back, moving Matt Kenseth's Ford to the outside front after a quick lap of 174.284 mph.

Kenseth, who won the last pre-Chase Cup in 2003, is 10th going into Sunday's race.

"You do the best you can every week," he said. "But certainly, it's nice to start a race up front a little farther and try to finish up there."

Scott Riggs will start third, followed by Chase leader and four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon. They were followed in the top 10 by Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer.

Hamlin (12th), Busch (fourth), Truex (seventh) and Bowyer (fifth) are all in the Chase.

Stewart, who is second to Gordon in the standings, will start 19th. Carl Edwards, whose 25-point penalty for failing inspection after his win last week at Dover dropped him from third to sixth in the standings, will start 27th.

Jeff Burton, eighth in the chase, fared even worse in qualifying and will start 31st. Ninth-place Kevin Harvick will start 17th, and 11th-place Kurt Busch will start 12th.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press