NASCAR Phoenix 2013 qualifying results: Johnson sends message, takes pole

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Championship leader Jimmie Johnson was the No. 1 qualifier for Sunday’s NASCAR race at Phoenix International Raceway.

It's not a given that Jimmie Johnson is going to win Sunday's NASCAR race at Phoenix International Raceway. Nor is it inevitable that he will clinch the Sprint Cup championship in next week's season finale.

But on the heels of a dominating victory at Texas Motor Speedway that moved him into the points lead, Johnson's competitors seemed ready to hand him his sixth series title after seeing him take the pole position in qualifying Friday,

"He's been in kill mode for a while," third-place qualifier Joey Logano said. "When they are running for that championship, they find that extra notch that a lot of other teams can't find."

One of the last cars to post a qualifying time, Johnson took the No. 1 starting position with a lap of 139.222 mph. He will share the front row with Denny Hamlin. Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon qualified fourth and fifth, respectively.

Johnson's third pole of the season gives him a decided advantage Sunday. Recently repaved, the one-mile Phoenix oval has proved challenging with drivers having difficulty passing. The spring event was devoid of much side-by-side racing with most passing being done in the pits and in the laps shortly following a restart.

By nature of securing the pole, Johnson will have first choice of pit stalls. However, the series points leader isn't ready to assume anything.

"It's still a long race and a lot can happen," Johnson said. "Strategy plays a big part in what takes place on Sunday during the race here. We did ourselves a lot of favors today with getting the pole and that first pit stall. Track position to start the race with and a lot of things directional will be in our favor. We've still got to go out there and go to work and get the job done on Sunday. But it's a great start to the weekend."

Matt Kenseth, seven points behind Johnson in the championship, qualified 14th.

AdvoCare 500 starting lineup

Position Driver Speed
1) Jimmie Johnson 139.222
2) Denny Hamlin 139.023
3) Joey Logano 138.942
4) Kyle Busch 138.851
5) Jeff Gordon 138.627
6) Clint Bowyer 138.595
7) Kasey Kahne 138.52
8) Kurt Busch 138.446
9) Kevin Harvick 138.297
10) Martin Truex Jr. 138.069
11) Dale Earnhardt Jr. 138.053
12) Brad Keselowski 137.968
13) Paul Menard 137.736
14) Matt Kenseth 137.704
15) Jeff Burton 137.652
16) Mark Martin 137.41
17) Ryan Newman 137.237
18) Greg Biffle 137.195
19) Juan Pablo Montoya 137.153
20) Marcos Ambrose 136.971
21) Aric Almirola 136.945
22) Elliott Sadler 136.69
23) Carl Edwards 136.679
24) Reed Sorenson 136.096
25) Justin Allgaier 136.008
26) Bobby Labonte 135.962
27) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 135.947
28) Josh Wise 135.793
29) Cole Whitt 135.716
30) Casey Mears 135.578
31) Travis Kvapil 135.399
32) Danica Patrick 135.379
33) David Gilliland 135.323
34) David Ragan 135.277
35) JJ Yeley 135.11
36) Jamie McMurray 134.862
37) David Reutimann 134.645
38) Timmy Hill 134.529
39) Michael McDowell 134.368
40) Landon Cassill 133.919
41) Tony Raines 132.057
42) Dave Blaney 131.579
43) Joe Nemechek 130.676

More from SB Nation:

Complete coverage of the 2013 Sprint Cup Chase

Johnson takes points lead with dominant victory

Another runner-up finish for Dale, Jr.

NASCAR power rankings: Kenseth surges past Johnson

The good times, hard life and shocking death of Dick Trickle

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