Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jimmie Johnson earns Sprint Cup pole at Phoenix

Jimmie Johnson, who won Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Texas, earns the pole on Friday at Phoenix.

Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson, who won Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Texas, earns the pole on Friday at Phoenix.

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Jimmie Johnson is doing his best to play spoiler now that his championship chances are done.

The six-time NASCAR champion was eliminated from the Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship in the first round of the playoffs. But his win last week at Texas denied Brad Keselowski a spot in the finale, and now he's on the pole for the final elimination race.

Johnson turned a lap at 143.158 mph in qualifying Friday to win the pole at Phoenix International Raceway for Sunday's Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500. His effort kept Kurt Busch, who is still in the Chase, from the top starting spot.

There are seven drivers vying for three spots in the title-deciding finale, Nov. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Only Jeff Gordon, thanks to his win at Martinsville, has clinched a berth in the final four.

"There's nothing better," Johnson said. "If you can't be in it, you may as well go out there and spoil it."

Johnson has five wins this season, but a mechanical failure in the first elimination race of the Chase bounced him from the playoffs.

Busch likely needs to win Sunday to advance to the final four.

"The car has speed," Busch said. "We've got to stay focused on getting this (No.) 41 car punching its ticket down to Homestead."

Formula One: Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, Texas, said series officials can't look to the state capital for a bailout of the financially struggling U.S. Grand Prix. Adler said the state should stand by any agreement with track officials, who say the deal includes a promise of at least $25 million a year for 10 years to pay F1 for the right to hold the race.

IndyCar: Jay Frye was named president of competition and operations. The NASCAR veteran and revenue expert succeeds Derrick Walker.

NHRA: Funny Car championship long-shot Tommy Johnson Jr. topped qualifying at the season-ending Auto Club Finals in Pomona, Calif. Billy Torrence led in Top Fuel, Shane Gray in Pro Stock, and Karen Stoffer in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Jimmie Johnson earns Sprint Cup pole at Phoenix 11/13/15 [Last modified: Friday, November 13, 2015 9:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays vs. Blue Jays, 1:10 p.m. Thursday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Today: vs. Blue Jays

    1:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  2. Browns to start rookie QB DeShone Kizer vs. Bucs

    Bucs

    BEREA, Ohio — DeShone Kizer will be next through the Browns' quarterback turnstile.

    He doesn't want it to spin again soon.

    Browns rookie QB DeShone Kizer, left, will start vs. the Bucs on Saturday. He will be Cleveland’s 27th starter since 1999.
  3. Florida Gators' QB situation remains up in the air

    College

    GAINESVILLE — With 10 days remaining until Florida's season opener against Michigan, Gators coach Jim McElwain still hasn't named a starting quarterback.

    Does it bother him?

    "Not at all," he said Wednesday.

  4. Bucs journal: Three key players miss practice as precaution

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Three days before the most important game of the preseason, the Bucs held three key players — WR Mike Evans, LB Kwon Alexander and G J.R. Sweezy — from Wednesday's practice as a precaution.

    LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
Bucs middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (58), intercepting a pass thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during practice Saturday ( Aug. 19, 2017), sits out Wednesday's practice with a hamstring injury. .
  5. Bucs talk social issues, protests at team meeting

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Each time Dirk Koetter walks through the door of his office at One Buc Place, he passes by the only jersey framed on his wall.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) wears custom cleats to represent Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) as part of the NFL???‚??„?s "My Cause, My Cleats Campaign" before the start of a football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016.