CONCORD, N.C. (AP) - Jimmie Johnson is returning to his dominant
ways at the perfect time. His latest accomplishment: the fastest qualifying lap of the NASCAR season.
The three-time defending Sprint Cup champion and points leader
looked the part Thursday, earning the pole at Lowe's Motor Speedway
with a blistering lap of 192.376 mph.
Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet had the best grip in the rain-delayed
qualifying in unseasonably cool conditions.
Mark Martin, sitting second in points, will start second after a lap of 191.816 mph. Kasey Kahne qualified third.
Johnson took the points lead for the first time this season after winning Sunday at California. It was clear from the practice session Thursday that Johnson had the best car.