Jimmie Johnson was the fastest in practice at Martinsville Speedway for the 64th Annual STP Gas Booster 500. He also was able to improve on that in order to not only win the pole for this Sunday’s race but also set a new track record.
Jimmie Johnson was able to negotiate the .526 paper clip track at a blistering record of 19.244 seconds or 98.400 MPH.
“I just heard that. That’s the icing on the cake. That makes the day even better yet. Track records are hard to come by, so I’m very proud of that and happy to have that.” Jimmie said, “My first run out, we were in q-trim and we made two or three laps and we just knew right away that we would have a great shot at it today. At that point, I just needed to do my job and not mess up. So I’m very proud of that. It’s very easy to do at this race track, especially once practice ends. You’ll sit and have lunch and relax for a couple of hours and then have to do it all over again. It was a great day across the board for the team, driver, the engine, the car, and everything. We got the car dialed-in.”
Jimmie has a unbelievable driver rating at this tough track of 122.3, only Jeff Gordon comes close at 120.9. Starting the race up front at a track that is known for tough passing is not a good sign for the competition. If he has the car dialed-in as good as he says that will make it even worse.
When asked about the advantages of winning the pole Jimmie said, “That pit stall. If you get behind or if you’re off-strategy or if you have any reason that leads you to lose track position, that pit stall is worth three to five positions on the race track. It’s a big, big advantage from that perspective.”
Marcos Ambrose will start the race second, Brian Vickers third, Joey Logano fourth and Kasey Kahne fifth. Jeff Gordon, Jimmie’s teammate will start the race sixth. Other drivers of note, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start the race 17th and Mark Martin subbing for Denny Hamlin will start the race 35th. Mike Bliss did not qualify.
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