Rain forced the cancellation of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole qualifying at Pocono Racing on Friday, putting the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson on the pole for Sunday’s Party in the Poconos 400. As a result of qualifying being cancelled, the starting grid for the race was set based on car owner points.
“I think the way we ran here last year especially with the repave, our cars had a lot of speed in them,” Johnson said. “I’m excited to come back and see what we have. We’re setting up in the summer stretch right now and I think that this weekend will kind of play into what we have at the Brickyard 400 here before long. All in all, I’m excited to be here. I think our car has been fast, I think we’ve been good on pit road and I enjoy the summer months. That is right around the corner and looking forward to hot, slick race tracks. Although, it’s not hot and slick right now, we need boats, but at some point we’ll get there.”
Johnson will share the front row with the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Carl Edwards. The second row will be occupied by the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota of Clint Bowyer and the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Matt Kenseth. "When you are with a team like I have, with Brian Pattie (crew chief) and everybody with this 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, it's fun to come to any race track knowing that you'll have a shot at it (winning),” Bowyer said. “You're going to have a good car and everybody is ready to go to battle, so it's just another race in the schedule for me.”
Kevin Harvick will start fifth in the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will roll off sixth in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Claiming the seventh through 10th spots on the starting grid will be the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Kasey Kahne, the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch, the No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Paul Menard and the No. 2 Penske Racing Ford of reigning series champion Brad Keselowski.
The exact number of cars needed for a full field, 43, were entered, so there were no drivers left without a spot on the grid.