FORT WORTH — Jimmie Johnson will lead the field to the green flag Sunday in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.
The seven-time Cup Series champion posted the fastest lap in the final round of qualifying Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, a 28.588-second lap time (188.890 mph), good enough for his 37th career pole and first since 2016.
Johnson, 43, will start the race riding a 65-race winless streak, dating back to Dover in June of 2017, the longest of his career.
“This one comes at an important time, when our company, our race team, needed a nice shot in the arm,” Johnson said to The Racing Experts.
Prior to Friday, Johnson was tied with two-time series champion Ned Jarrett on the all-time poles list. He is now tied with Rusty Wallace and Rex White, both past champions, for 17th all-time on the poles list.
“Both those names, I’m fans of both of them,” Johnson said. “I’m very honored to be in that category with them and tying with them.”
The next five drivers ahead of Johnson on the all-time poles list are Geoff Bodine (37), Buddy Baker (38), Herb Thomas (39), Tim Flock (39) and Buck Baker (45).
Ryan Newman, with 51 career poles, leads all active drivers on the list at ninth overall.
Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron will start alongside Johnson in second.
Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon round out the top-five starters.
Daniel Hemric was the highest qualifying rookie in seventh.
Defending series champion Joey Logano will start eighth.
Kyle Busch, the current points leader and spring 2018 Texas race winner, will start 16th.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 will be televised live on FOX Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.
I am a co-owner and reporter for TheRacingExperts.com.