Pole sitter Johnson wrecks in practice

Jimmie Johnson demolished the Kansas Speedway track record during qualifying on Friday, but, on Saturday, the track bit back and demolished Johnson's car. Johnson was among the quickest cars in the morning practice session for the Banquet 400 ...

Jimmie Johnson demolished the Kansas Speedway track record during qualifying on Friday, but, on Saturday, the track bit back and demolished Johnson's car.

Johnson was among the quickest cars in the morning practice session for the Banquet 400 (Sunday at 12:30 ET on NBC) but lost control of his #48 Lowe's Chevrolet in turn-3 and crashed heavily into the wall on the backstretch.

"The competitor in me knew I could run a faster lap, and the car got away from and got in the outside wall," Johnson said after climbing from the wreckage. "The track's slick, especially on new tires. It's really hard to get any grip."

Johnson set the track record with a fast lap of 180.373 miles per hour and claimed the pole on Friday, but will be forced to start at the back of the pack in his back-up car.

On Saturday, Michael Waltrip started on the pole for the Busch Series race and led 140 laps before blowing his right front tire with five laps to go. It was the second straight year that Waltrip earned the pole at Kansas and then wrecked in the race.

Points leader Matt Kenseth had to roll his back-up car off the truck before qualifying on Friday after he lost control and wrecked during the first practice session. He used a provisional for the second straight week to get into the field for Sunday.

He struggled with the car on Saturday. "It isn't great yet, but it was OK," Kenseth said after Happy Hour. "It's a good car. We'll be all right."

Jeff Gordon has won both Winston Cup races at Kansas Speedway and will roll off the grid in seventh and was fifth fastest in Happy Hour.

"Track position is really important here," Gordon says. "That's what we're going to be focused on. We've got a good starting position and we need to move up some spots, but hopefully we can maintain some of that."

Ryan Newman leads the circuit with seven wins this season, including five of the past 12 races. He qualified 11th, but picked up the pace on Saturday and led the field in Happy Hour. Newman finished second in his Kansas debut last year.

Johnson takes pole, sets new record at Kansas

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Michael Waltrip , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson