NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

 
        === Johnson captures Texas pole, Keselowski qualifies eighth ===
 
 Fort  Worth, TX  (Sports Network)  - Sprint  Cup Series  points leader  Jimmie
 Johnson claimed his second consecutive pole by winning Friday's qualifying for
 the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
 
 Johnson, who holds just a two-point lead over Brad Keselowski with three races
 to  go in  the Chase for the  Sprint Cup championship, turned a lap at 191.076
 mph  for his fourth  pole of the season and the 29th of his Sprint Cup career.
 He  started  on the  pole and  won last Sunday's  500-lap race at Martinsville
 Speedway.
 
 "I  knew it was going to be a challenging lap, and I went in there committed,"
 said  Johnson, who  earned his  first  pole in  19  races at  Texas. "I  drove
 probably the most exciting lap I've had in a long, long time, and I brought it
 around for the pole, so I'm very pleased."
 
 Struggling  in  the lone practice session  earlier in the day, Johnson was the
 20th  driver  to go out  in the 46-car qualifying  field at this fast 1.5-mile
 racetrack.
 
 "We  didn't  unload like we  wanted to,  and the track  was so fast during the
 first  15 minutes (of practice) that we missed an opportunity to really post a
 time,"  he said. "As practice went on, we improved the car, and the pace moved
 up  a lot. So we thought we were in contention, but I think that surprised all
 of us a little bit."
 
 Johnson  has one  win at Texas, which came  in Nov. 2007. The last time he won
 back-to-back races was in June 2010 -- Sonoma, Calif. and Loudon, N.H.
 
 When  the series most recently competed at Texas in April, Johnson led a race-
 high 156 laps but finished second to Greg Biffle.
 
 Johnson's qualifying lap was 0.103 seconds quicker than Biffle, who will start
 on the outside pole.
 
 "I  just didn't  have enough commitment to  push the gas down and hold it, but
 the 48 (Johnson) did," Biffle said.
 
 Kyle  Busch qualified third, while Michael Waltrip Racing drivers Clint Bowyer
 and  Martin  Truex Jr.  took the  fourth and  fifth spots, respectively. Truex
 posted the fastest lap in practice.
 
 Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Keselowski, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth completed
 the  top-10. Keselowski's  eighth-place result was a huge improvement from his
 qualifying finish of 32nd one week ago at Martinsville.
 
 "It  might not be  the pole, but it feels like a pole for us," Keselowski said
 after  his  qualifying run at Texas.  "Our car has had  a ton of speed in race
 trim  since  we've been  here, but  qualifying trim has  been our weakness all
 year. I think that bodes very well for us come Sunday."
 
 Bowyer  is currently 26 points behind Johnson, while Johnson's teammate, Kasey
 Kahne, trails by 29. Kahne qualified 13th.
 
 Stephen Leicht, Kelly Bires and David Stremme failed to qualify.
 
 Sunday's 500-mile race at Texas is scheduled to start just after 3 p.m. (ET).
 
 11/02 19:03:13 ET

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