Jimmie Johnson won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Pole for the USG Sheetrock 400 with a qualifying speed of 188.147 mph at Chicagoland Speedway this afternoon. Johnson was one of six drivers to break Chicagoland Speedway’s previous qualifying record of 186.942 mph set by Jeff Gordon in 2004—Ryan Newman, Casey Mears, Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers and Greg Biffle all bested that mark this afternoon.

This is Johnson’s third top-10 start in four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Chicagoland Speedway; surpassing his previous best start that came in 2004 when he started third. He captured a first-place finish in the inaugural Busch Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in 2001.

Newman, who was victorious at the 2003 Chicagoland Speedway race, will line up next to Johnson on Sunday. Newman secured the outside pole position for the USG Sheetrock 400 with the second-quickest qualifying speed of 188.055 mph. This is Newman’s 15th top-10 start this year; ninth on the front row; and second on the front in the last three races at Chicagoland Speedway.

Mears posted his second top-10 start this season with a qualifying speed of 187.676 mph. This is his second top-10 start in three races at Chicagoland Speedway. Kenseth recorded a qualifying speed of 187.396 mph, placing him in the fourth position on Sunday. This will be the highest starting position for Kenseth in five races at Chicagoland Speedway. Vickers recorded his seventh top-10 start in 2005 after posting a qualifying speed of 187.324 mph. He secured the fourth position at Chicagoland Speedway during his rookie season. Biffle, who will line up next to Vickers, posted a qualifying speed of 187.065 mph. In his rookie season, Biffle started seventh and moved up two spots to the fifth starting position the following year at Chicagoland Speedway.

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