Johnson qualifies poorly for final race

Nov. 14, 2008 at 9:46 PM
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HOMESTEAD, Fla., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Jimmie Johnson, needing to finish 36th or better at the season-ending Ford 400 to win the Sprint Cup title, will be deep in the field at the start of the race.

Sunday's race will conclude the NASCAR season and Johnson is in excellent position to win his third consecutive championship. He will begin the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a 141-point lead over Carl Edwards.

For Edwards to win the title, he must win the race while Johnson finishes 37th or worse. Edwards qualified fourth Friday and Johnson will start in the 30th position.

"Unfortunately, coming to the green flag I lost a bunch of time and I didn't take the green flag with the speed I needed into those long straightaways," Johnson said. "I think I lost most of my time there."

The pole was won by David Reutimann, the first of his Sprint Cup career. He completed a lap of the 1.5-mile oval in 31.462 seconds. His first pole comes in his 63rd start.

Scott Speed, in just his fifth Sprint Cup start, will start on the outside of the first row with a time of 31.494 seconds. Matt Kenseth and Edwards will make up the second row.

Among the story lines for the final race of the season will be Jeff Gordon's attempt to extend his streak to 15 straight years with at least one victory. He has been shut out so far in 2008.

In addition, this will be the final race of two-time Cup champion Tony Stewart's 10-year career with Joe Gibbs Racing. Stewart will drive for his own team in 2009.

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