2006 Allstate 400 at the Brickyardwinner Jimmie Johnson added to his Indianapolis Motor Speedway resume July26 by earning the pole for the 15th running of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.
Johnson pushed his No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet to a fast lap of 181.763 mph in hot, humid conditions. Mark Martin equaled his best Allstate 400 at the Brickyard career start, and will join Johnson on the front row after qualifying at 181.393 in the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet. He previously qualified second in 1996 and 1999.
Although Johnson's lap was almost four-tenths of a mile per hour faster than Martin, he said he left quite a bit behind in his one qualifying lap at the2.5-mile oval. "With each corner, you gain confidence in the car," said Johnson, a native of El Cajon, Calif. "I got through Turn 3 and was good, got through Turn 4and came to the green and knew I had something special. I tried a little harder through (Turn) 1 and it stuck, got to (Turn) 2 and was tooaggressive, it didn't stick. Got to (Turn) 3 and didn't adjust enough and missed it a little bit and then once I got to (Turn) 4, I had it right again.
"This track is really difficult. Each turn may look very similar, but each turn is so different, and it's tough to put together one full clean lap." Johnson also was fastest among all drivers in the post-qualifying practice sessions, with a lap of 176.298 when all cars were in race trim.
Martin had boldly "called his shot" for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard several weeks ago, predicting he would capture his first victory at the fabled IMS oval this weekend. Given a strong showing in both practice and qualifying this weekend, his visions of Victory Lane aren't unfounded.
"The car wanted to go, it sure did," Martin said. "When I came out of Turn 4 and came down to take the green flag, I thought, 'Man, we've got something here.'
"The guys gave me a great race car at Phoenix and Richmond, and I felt like they would translate well into these flat corners. This race team is due a win, and I'd sure like to go with them and see that on their face."
Indiana native Ryan Newman was fastest early in qualifying but settled forthe third-place starting position after a lap of 180.970 in the No. 12alltel Dodge. Kasey Kahne starts fourth in the No. 9 Budweiser/LifeLockDodge after a lap of 180.810, and four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon starts fifth in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet after a lapof 180.545.
Gordon's fifth-place qualifying effort is his best at IMS since earning the pole in 1999, and Newman's third-place start continues his streak of starting eighth or better at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in all eightof his appearances in the race. He also ties Bill Elliott for the record of most top-10 starts at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.
Elliott, the 2002 race winner, attempted to qualify in the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford but was not fast enough, breaking his streak of starting every event since the inaugural race in 1994. Elliott also had the record for the most laps completed at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: 2,239 of a possible2,241 from 1994-2007.
Other drivers who failed to qualify for the 2008 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard were Johnny Sauter, Stanton Barrett and La Porte, Ind., native Tony Raines. Defending race winner Tony Stewart will start 14th - the same starting position from which he won the race last year.
The 15th running of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard starts at 2 p.m. (ET)Sunday, with live pre-race television coverage on ESPN and live radioc overage on the IMS Radio Network beginning at 1 p.m.
Ticket holders for the 2008 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will be treated to a pre-race concert featuring country music legends The Charlie Daniels Bandat the HANK's Hog Roast, located in the infield at the Coke Zero Stagebehind the IMS Hall of Fame Museum. Sony BMG Nashville recording artist Craig Morgan also will perform, with music getting underway at 10 a.m.