Brad Keselowski Wins First Pole of the Season at New Hampshire, Jimmie Johnson's Team Faces Adversity

By Joseph Wolkin
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Keselowski is shockingly on pole for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race for the first time since May of 2011. Keselowski won the pole for the Camping World RV Sales 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It’s the first time that the Generation Six car has hit the flat track in the Northeast and it sure didn’t disappoint.

Keselowski set a new track record at New Hampshire in his Penske Racing Ford with a lap time of 28.165 seconds at 135.232 mph. It was stunning to see Keselowski win the pole considering he isn’t the best of qualifiers. Not to mention, he’s been struggling so far this year and is in jeopardy of becoming the first reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion to miss the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

However, after the controversy last weekend at Daytona with all of the penalties, one team seemed to underestimate the seriousness of NASCAR. One team just happened to push themselves a little bit too much once again. This time, it was the championship points leader, Jimmie Johnson and his No. 48 Chevrolet team.

Johnson originally qualified on the outside pole aside Keselowski. Yet, he failed pre-qualifying inspection not once, but twice. NASCAR enabled the team to make the mandatory adjustments as his car approached the starting grid. Once qualifying was completed, a well earned second ended up being taken away. Johnson’s car was found to be too low and will not start in the 43rd position. This means that Kurt Busch will start on the outside pole which is outstanding considering how the team is a single-car organization, on the verge of making NASCAR’s version of the playoffs.

Johnson’s time being disallowed will probably have a penalty along with it. Though it probably won’t effect the championship outcome too much, Johnson’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, could be suspended for several races, killing all of the momentum which the team has gained over the past few weeks.

Juan Pablo Montoya somehow or another took his backup car to the 10th starting position after slamming into the wall during practice, destroying his Target Chevrolet. His teammate, Jamie McMurray, will start right behind him in 11th. The two cars have been coming on as of late and should be a factor heading into the final months of the season.


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