Jimmie Johnson earned his 33rd career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole on Thursday evening at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will start Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 from the front. Johnson turned a lap of 27.705 seconds in the third and final round of knock out qualifying to grab his first pole of the 2014 season.
Brad Keselowski will start on the front row with Johnson. Qualifying third was Kasey Kahne and Danica Partick, who was fastest in round two, qualified fourth. Starting from fifth will be Clint Bowyer with Denny Hamlin sixth, Kyle Busch seventh, Joey Logano eighth, Marcos Ambrose ninth, and Dale Earnhardt Jr tenth. Kevin Harvick was fastest in round one of qualifying and a favorite for the pole in the final round but did not make it to the start-finish line to start his lap before the five minute session clock ended. He will start 11th alongside Matt Kenseth in 12th who also did not make a run in the final round.
Making round two but not the final round of qualifying were the next 12 drivers in the starting lineup. Aric Almirola will start 13th, Trevor Bayne 14th, Martin Truex Jr 15th, Brian Vickers 16th, Justin Allgaier 17th, Tony Stewart 18th, Brian Scott 19th, AJ Allmendinger 20th, Paul Menard 21st, Carl Edwards 22nd, Ricky Stenhouse Jr 23rd, and Greg Biffle 24th.
Not making it out of round one of qualifying were the rest of the field. Kyle Larson will start from 25th, Jamie McMurray 26th, Jeff Gordon 27th, Kurt Busch, who will race earlier in the day in the Indianapolis 500, will start 28th, Alex Bowman 29th, Michael McDowell 30th, Cole Whitt 31st, Austin Dillon 32nd, David Gilliland 33rd, Casey Mears 34th, David Ragan 35th, and Ryan Truex 36th. Those drivers made the field on speed. Starting in 37th will be Josh Wise, Joe Nemechek will start 38th, Michael Annett 39th, Landon Cassill 40th, Reed Sorenson 41st, Ryan Newman 42nd, and Blake Koch 43rd. Newman's team had a left side tire on his right-rear which caused him to abort two qualifying runs as he felt an issue. NASCAR allowed his team to correct the problem but Newman still could not put a quick lap up in his only attempt in round one.
Not making the field by missing the top 36 and being lowest in owner points were JJ Yeley's Xxxtreme Motorsports team and Dave Blaney's Randy Humphrey Racing team. Yeley was 38th fastest and Blaney 43rd.
The Coca-Cola 600 can be seen on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on FOX.
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