NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Auto Club Speedway came down to the final driver and seven one-thousandths of a second.
Clint Bowyer will start from the pole thanks to a lap of 179.614 mph (40.086 seconds). It is his fourth career pole and his first in Fontana.
Bowyer’s time was fast enough to hold up against Jimmie Johnson’s run. Johnson was the final car to take time in single-car qualifying at his home track and put down a lap of 179.582 mph. He will be on the front row to see his wife Chandra, along with daughters Genevieve and Lydia, wave the green flag as the honorary starters for Johnson’s final race at the speedway.
Rounding out the top five were Alex Bowman at 179.359 mph, Kurt Busch at 178.958 mph and Kevin Harvick at 178.882 mph.
Bowman was the fastest car in both of Friday’s practice sessions and in the best 10 consecutive lap average. Although he will start where he qualified, Busch did lose his car chief for the remainder of the weekend as his car failed inspection twice.
Aric Almirola qualified sixth at 178.749 mph with Joey Logano qualifying seventh at 178.731 mph. Michael McDowell will start eighth with a lap of 178.642 mph while Kyle Larson will come from the ninth position after a lap of 178.478 mph and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top 10 at 178.434 mph.
Defending race winner Kyle Busch qualified 17th.
Ryan Preece had the 20th-fastest qualifying speed but will drop to the back during Sunday’s pace laps. Preece’s No. 37 JTG Daugherty team found an issue under the hood of his Chevrolet and changed engines before qualifying.
Ross Chastain will start 27th in the No. 6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing.
Martin Truex Jr. did not get to attempt a qualifying run after his Toyota failed inspection three times.
UP NEXT: Auto Club 400 at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.