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NASCAR New Hampshire 2016 qualifying results: Jimmie Johnson earns first career pole at New Hampshire

Johnson not only recorded his first-ever pole at the one-mile track, but his first of the season.

Robert Laberge/Getty Images

With six championships and 77 career victories to his name, winning a pole position doesn't normally cause Jimmie Johnson to celebrate with high-fives and hugs. But that is what occurred after he posted the fastest speed in qualifying Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to earn his first pole of the season.

Johnson's lap of 133.971 mph edged second-place qualifier Kyle Busch (133.830 mph), who had been fastest in the second session of the three-round knockout format. Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin completed the top five. Johnson is seeking to snap a five-race stretch during which he's finished no better than 13th, including back-to-back accidents in the previous two events entering New Hampshire.

"I think the majority of that emotion was that we actually got a pole," Johnson said. "This is a good day all in all and something this team needed after a tough couple of months."

Johnson's pole-run gave Hendrick Motorsports a bit of positive news following teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s sudden revelation on Thursday that he is dealing with concussion-like symptoms and will not compete in Sunday's race.

With Earnhardt sidelined indefinitely, the team named Alex Bowman to drive Earnhardt's car at New Hampshire, with Jeff Gordon coming out of retirement if needed next weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Bowman qualified 20th.

Johnson credited Earnhardt for fine-tuning the baseline setup he used on Friday, as Earnhardt tested extensively at the one-mile track last month.

"We owe a lot to Dale in regards to this race," Johnson said. "That made a difference for us today."

Joey Logano, rookie Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and AJ Allmendinger rounded out the top 10 qualifiers.

All 40 drivers entered will start Sunday's New Hampshire 301.