NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski beat his 2012 title rival Jimmie Johnson to pole position for Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Johnson, who holds a commanding lead in the current standings, was only on provisional pole for moments before next man out Keselowski’s Penske Ford produced a 28.022-second lap to beat the Hendrick Chevrolet by 0.004 second.
Kurt Busch slipped his Furniture Row Chevy in between Hendrick pair Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to take third, while his brother Kyle was fifth for Joe Gibbs after holding pole for a spell.
Juan Pablo Montoya was 11th but will fall to the rear of the field for the Loudon race as he had to switch to a back-up car following a practice crash.
On the day that it was announced he would be losing his Stewart-Haas seat to Kevin Harvick in 2014, Ryan Newman outqualified team boss Tony Stewart by 0.02sec in 16th, with Harvick another two places back.
Morgan Shepherd is poised to break the record for the oldest driver to start a Cup race. The 71-year-old put Brian Keselowski’s Toyota 42nd ahead of David Stremme, who crashed on his qualifying run.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford 28.022s 2. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 28.026s +0.004s 3. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet 28.040s +0.018s 4. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 28.050s +0.028s 5. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota 28.056s +0.034s 6. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 28.104s +0.082s 7. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 28.112s +0.090s 8. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota 28.113s +0.091s 9. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 28.144s +0.122s10. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 28.162s +0.140s11. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 28.191s +0.169s12. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 28.198s +0.176s13. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota 28.212s +0.190s14. Brian Vickers Waltrip Toyota 28.218s +0.196s15. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 28.241s +0.219s16. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 28.245s +0.223s17. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 28.265s +0.243s18. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 28.274s +0.252s19. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 28.320s +0.298s20. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 28.337s +0.315s21. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 28.405s +0.383s22. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 28.418s +0.396s23. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 28.458s +0.436s24. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford 28.459s +0.437s25. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 28.462s +0.440s26. Joey Logano Penske Ford 28.471s +0.449s27. AJ Allmendinger Phoenix Chevrolet 28.471s +0.449s28. David Reutimann BK Toyota 28.501s +0.479s29. Casey Mears Germain Ford 28.545s +0.523s30. David Ragan Front Row Ford 28.579s +0.557s31. Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 28.639s +0.617s32. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 28.655s +0.633s33. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 28.658s +0.636s34. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 28.698s +0.676s35. Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 28.749s +0.727s36. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 28.854s +0.832s37. Landon Cassill Circle Sport Chevrolet 28.881s +0.859s38. Ken Schrader FAS Lane Ford 28.953s +0.931s39. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 29.048s +1.026s40. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 29.053s +1.031s41. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet 29.120s +1.098s42. Morgan Shepherd Keselowski Toyota 29.689s +1.667s43. David Stremme Swan Toyota