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Bowyer narrowly beats out Johnson for Fontana pole

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Bowyer narrowly beats out Johnson for Fontana pole
By:
Feb 29, 2020, 8:37 PM

Clint Bowyer held off a pair of Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets to win the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in California.

Bowyer bolted to the top of the speed chart late in the qualifying session with an average lap speed of 179.614 mph and held off challenges, first from Alex Bowman – who was fastest in both practice sessions Friday – and hometown favorite Jimmie Johnson.

The pole is just the fourth in Bowyer’s career with two coming in the last two seasons.

Johnson, who leads all drivers with six wins at the track, ended up second (179.582 mph) while Bowman was third (179.359 mph). Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick round out the top-five starters.

 

“I was freaking out, actually, that the sun kept coming out because the track was building temperature,” Bowyer said. “Everybody, you could see in the data, kept getting looser and looser down in (Turns) 1 and 2.

“I knew coming to the green was important, tried to stay out high, try to get up through the gear box as good as you can, but that’s what it was. It stuck down there (in Turns 1 and 2) and everybody else had to kind of chase it up the track and lost speed and momentum.

“Then (Johnson), I’m thinking, ‘Man, if it comes down and I get beat by the last car on the race track, I’m going to freak out.’ I got a pole baby! Looking forward to tomorrow. It’s going to be a hell of a race.”

Completing the top-10 starters will be Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The No. 19 Toyota of Martin Truex Jr. failed pre-qualifying inspection three times Saturday morning and he was not allowed to make a qualifying attempt. He will start from the rear of the field in Sunday’s race.

In addition, the No. 1 Chevrolet of Kurt Busch failed pre-qualifying inspection twice. His car chief was ejected for the weekend and the team will lose 15 minutes of practice at Phoenix next weekend.

Read Also:

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Time Gap Mph
1 14 United States Clint Bowyer Ford 40.086   179.614
2 48 United States Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 40.093 0.007 179.582
3 88 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 40.143 0.057 179.359
4 1 United States Kurt Busch Chevrolet 40.233 0.147 178.958
5 4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 40.250 0.164 178.882
6 10 United States Aric Almirola Ford 40.280 0.194 178.749
7 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 40.284 0.198 178.731
8 34 United States Michael McDowell Ford 40.304 0.218 178.642
9 42 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 40.341 0.255 178.478
10 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 40.351 0.265 178.434
11 17 United States Chris Buescher Ford 40.367 0.281 178.364
12 21 United States Matt DiBenedetto Ford 40.428 0.342 178.094
13 9 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 40.485 0.399 177.844
14 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr. Chevrolet 40.487 0.401 177.835
15 2 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 40.491 0.405 177.817
16 12 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 40.503 0.417 177.765
17 18 United States Kyle Busch Toyota 40.516 0.430 177.708
18 41 United States Cole Custer Ford 40.519 0.433 177.694
19 8 United States Tyler Reddick Chevrolet 40.583 0.497 177.414
20 37 United States Ryan Preece Chevrolet 40.587 0.501 177.397
21 24 United States William Byron Chevrolet 40.610 0.524 177.296
22 95 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 40.698 0.612 176.913
23 38 United States John Hunter Nemechek Ford 40.699 0.613 176.909
24 13 United States Ty Dillon Chevrolet 40.738 0.652 176.739
25 3 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 40.750 0.664 176.687
26 32 United States Corey Lajoie Ford 40.761 0.675 176.639
27 6 United States Ross Chastain Ford 40.783 0.697 176.544
28 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 40.790 0.704 176.514
29 20 United States Erik Jones Toyota 40.955 0.869 175.803
30 52 United States J.J. Yeley Ford 41.484 1.398 173.561
31 96 Mexico Daniel Suarez Toyota 41.511 1.425 173.448
32 15 United States Brennan Poole Chevrolet 41.819 1.733 172.171
33 77 United States Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 41.975 1.889 171.531
34 53 United States Joey Gase Ford 42.375 2.289 169.912
35 00 United States Quin Houff Chevrolet 42.657 2.571 168.788
36 51 United States Garrett Smithley Chevrolet 42.842 2.756 168.059
37 66 United States Timmy Hill Toyota 43.729 3.643 164.650
38 19 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Fontana
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Clint Bowyer
Author Jim Utter