Jimmie Johnson is one of the best at Martinsville. On Sunday the six time winner at the track will start from the pole as the seventh race in the 2012 NASCAR Chase gets underway. This is Johnson’s third pole of the season. Denny Hamlin, third in the points, is a four time winner at ‘the paperclip’ and will start fifth.
Series points leader Brad Keselowski did not have a good qualifying lap and will start 32nd. Johnson said he was not going to count out Keselowski though, and that “It would be foolish for me to sit here and think they’re not going to race their way through. …” and that he would probably have a tough time on pit road with their pit stall pick.
Johnson ran his fast lap of 97.598, edging out Brian Vickers who is making his final start of the 2012 season.
Other notables in field include Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer. Gordon is a seven time winner and will be looking to add his eighth grandfather clock. Bowyer who remains in striking distance of the championship will start eighth. Dale Earnhardt Jr. makes his return to the Cup series after missing races at Charlotte and Kansas.
AJ Allmendinger stays in the No. 51 car of Phoenix Racing while last weekends winner Matt Kenseth tries for his third win in the Chase [...]