|Five-time is on the pole today.|
The National Weather Service is calling for most sunny skies and a high temperature of 80 degrees; infinitely better than the rain and severe weather that delayed the start of last Saturday’s night regular season finale at Richmond International Raceway.
Jimmie Johnson will start on the pole this afternoon, after turning a fast lap at 182.865 mph in qualifying yesterday. It was Johnson’s second pole of 2012 and the 27th of his Sprint Cup career. Aric Almirola will start second third afternoon in his Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, followed by former series champion Matt Kenseth.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. qualified fourth yesterday, but will drop to the rear of the field for the green flag after a bizarre, post-qualifying incident damaged the engine in his Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet. At the end of his qualifying lap, sources close to the team say Earnhardt attempted to shift from high gear into neutral, allowing his car to coast back to the garage. Instead, he slapped the shifter into third gear, over-revving the engine and damaging the valve train. His Steve Letarte-led crew changed the engine yesterday, relegating Earnhardt to the rear of the grid today.