Jimmie Johnson Snags Bristol Night Race Pole

Jimmie Johnson is thinking "sweep."

After getting his first career Bristol win in March, Johnson grabbed his first career Bristol pole on Friday evening, taking advantage of a good draw as the final car to qualify before the go-or-go-home drivers.

Johnson's lap of 123.475 mph was enough to bump Carl Edwards (122.937) off the pole just seconds after Edwards had snatched it away from Joey Logano (122.764).

It was also Johnson's first pole of the season.

"We definitely have things going right for us so far," Johnson said, expressing relief after discovering the 48 team's strategy had worked in his favor.

Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus had set the car up to run the bottom lane for qualifying, but as Johnson watched other drivers' laps from the top of his hauler, he noticed hardly any of his rivals were running the same line.

Edwards climbed from his car feeling confident that he would start Saturday's Irwin Tools Night Race from the top spot, especially after seeing Johnson attempt his lap on the bottom lane.

And then? Johnson's name was suddenly atop the board.

"I couldn't believe Jimmie got the pole running the bottom (lane)," Edwards said. "When I was watching the big screen, I thought, 'Oh, he's on the bottom, he's screwing this up.'"

Tony Stewart qualified fourth, followed by David Reutimann, who was fighting off either the flu or food poisoning earlier in the day and missed part of the first practice.

Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya, Martin Truex Jr. and AJ Allmendinger rounded out the top 10.

The qualifying session was notable for Jeff Gordon's rare miscue – a spin and slight bump of the wall on his warmup lap.

At the sight of the 24 car spinning, the fans dotting the Bristol stands erupted in loud cheers.

"I'm still trying to figure it all out," Gordon said. "I was going for it, and I just got in the gas too hard. The back end came around."

Since Gordon hadn't officially started time for his lap yet, he was allowed to return to pit road and try again.

"I knew not to go across the start/finish line, so I came to pit road," he said. "They put us on the five-minute clock to put tires on. We had some scuffs – unfortunately we didn't have stickers (new tires). That's not going to be a very good lap. ... But right now, I'll take it for sure."

Gordon's lap put him 26th, just ahead of teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., who walked away without comment after his lap.

Other notables included Mark Martin (13th) and Clint Bowyer (24th), who are vying for the last Chase spot, and past winners Kyle Busch (19th), Kurt Busch (20th) and Kevin Harvick (28th).

Among the drivers who had to qualify on speed, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Green, Scott Riggs, David Gilliland, Michael McDowell, Todd Bodine and Casey Mears made the race.

Dave Blaney, Joe Nemechek, Kevin Lepage, JJ Yeley, Brian Keselowski and Mike Bliss all failed to qualify for the race.

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