Brad Keselowski, NASCAR driver/AP
Loudon, NH (Sports Network) - Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski claimed the pole for the Camping World RV Sales 301 after edging Jimmie Johnson in Friday's qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Keselowski set a new track qualifying record at this 1.058-mile oval with a lap at 135.922 mph. He earned his third career Sprint Cup pole. His first pole in the series came here in September 2010. Keselowski's most recent pole victory occurred in May 2011 at Charlotte (78 races ago).
Johnson, who is the current points leader and winner of last Saturday's race at Daytona, held the provisional pole with a lap at 135.902 mph until Keselowski turned a lap that was only 0.004 seconds faster. Johnson's No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team had trouble clearing their car during pre-qualifying inspection due to a couple of minor issues.
The top-10 finishers in qualifying broke the previous track record of 135.232 mph, set by Ryan Newman in July 2011.
Kurt Busch qualified third, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five.
Jeff Gordon took the sixth spot, followed by Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, who is the defending race winner, and Jeff Burton. Hamlin won the most recent race at New Hampshire last September.
Danica Patrick will start 33rd after posting a lap at 132.905 mph.
The Sports Network