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Johnson on pole on Texas after slight Cup qualifying changes

March 30, 2019

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Jimmie Johnson will start on the pole at Texas, where he is a seven-time winner.

With Johnson leading the way after a final-stage fast lap of 188.890 mph, Hendrick Motorsports took the top three qualifying spots Friday. William Bryon was second, and Chase Elliott third.

NASCAR made some tweaks to its qualifying procedures after all 12 drivers in the final round failed to log an official lap two weeks ago at the two-mile Auto Club Speedway in California. Drivers idled on pit road until the final second to attempt their qualifying lap, and they all blew the timing.

There were still some issues with qualifying in Texas, with Clint Bowyer calling the procedure an “epic fail” after he qualified 25th. He was upset after the first stage, when he said he was impeded by Ryan Newman trying to get on the track during the first stage and eventually missed the cutoff for the top 24 to get to the second stage.

Newman had started to move and then shifted behind another car in line on pit row. But the rear of his car stuck out in the middle lane that is supposed to remain clear between cars on either side of that.

Daniel Suarez qualified fourth using a strategy different than most. He went out alone on the track for his laps during qualifying.

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