NASCAR Chicago Starting Lineup: Jimmie Johnson Leads Qualifying Results For 2012 Chase Opener

Five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson started the 2012 Chase exactly the way he wanted: With a pole at Chicagoland Speedway.

Johnson will lead the starting lineup for Sunday's GEICO 400, with Aric Almirola, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards rounding out the top five.

The pole was Johnson's second from the season and comes a year after he had no No. 1 starting positions for the first time in his career – and also happened to miss out on his sixth straight Sprint Cup Series title.

"It's too early in the Chase to be over-the-top excited...but qualifying (well) makes the race so much easier for you," Johnson said. "Your pit stall is going to be right and your track position is going to be in your favor."

Johnson said he was certain a Chase driver would win a pole today and that's how it would be throughout the Chase.

So how did the others do? The rest of the field included Kasey Kahne (sixth), Denny Hamlin (eighth), Clint Bowyer (ninth), Brad Keselowski (13th), Martin Truex Jr. (18th), Jeff Gordon (19th), Greg Biffle (22nd), Tony Stewart (29th) and Kevin Harvick (35th).

Danica Patrick had the 46th-fastest time of 47 drivers but made the race due to a locked-in spot.

Scott Riggs, Reed Sorenson, JJ Yeley and Jason Leffler failed to qualify for the race.

Here's the starting lineup for Sunday's GEICO 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway (Chase drivers in bold):

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Aric Almirola
  3. Matt Kenseth
  4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (will start at rear due to engine change)
  5. Carl Edwards
  6. Kasey Kahne
  7. Regan Smith
  8. Denny Hamlin
  9. Clint Bowyer
  10. Joey Logano
  11. Paul Menard
  12. Jamie McMurray
  13. Brad Keselowski
  14. Trevor Bayne
  15. Mark Martin
  16. Sam Hornish Jr.
  17. Marcos Ambrose
  18. Martin Truex Jr.
  19. Jeff Gordon
  20. Ryan Newman
  21. Kyle Busch
  22. Greg Biffle
  23. Bobby Labonte
  24. Michael McDowell
  25. Scott Speed
  26. Landon Cassill
  27. Casey Mears
  28. Juan Pablo Montoya
  29. Tony Stewart
  30. Kurt Busch
  31. David Stremme
  32. Jeff Burton
  33. Joe Nemechek
  34. Mike Bliss
  35. Kevin Harvick
  36. Cole Whitt
  37. David Ragan
  38. Travis Kvapil
  39. T.J. Bell
  40. David Gilliland
  41. Danica Patrick
  42. Dave Blaney
  43. Josh Wise
DNQ: Scott Riggs, Reed Sorenson, JJ Yeley, Jason Leffler.
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