Published: Sun, July 17, 2016
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Johnson wins 1st pole of the season at New Hampshire

Over 100,000 people and more than 37,000 vehicles will head to New Hampshire International Speedway for Sunday afternoon's New Hampshire 301 stock auto race, part of NASCAR's Sprint Cup series.

"(New Hampshire) is a Martinsville-like short track, but it's just over a mile", said Busch, who won the ESPY for Best Driver on Wednesday night.

Johnson could use a boost after a five-race slump where he hasn't finished better than 13th.

What to Watch For: Brad Keselowski goes for his third consecutive win. Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano all notched their first victories at New Hampshire. Here is a look at the odds to win this race.

Dixon turned a lap of 59.9073 seconds to win the pole for the race Sunday. Harvick won at Phoenix earlier this year but it has been his only victory and he has yet to capture the checkered flag here at New Hampshire where he has seven top five finishes and fifteen top ten results. Though the season began with disappointing television ratings at Daytona and Atlanta (down 18 percent from 2015), through the first 18 events, including races 17 and 18 televised by NBC Sports, year-over-year ratings have stabilized at minus-3 percent and, during the FOX portion of the season, Sprint Cup ratings on FS1 improved plus-6 percent, year over year. Edwards is one of the better flat track racers often overlooked and he should definitely be in the mix on Sunday.

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire, Friday.

The NHMS experience will be a different kind of test for Alex Bowman, who will be behind the wheel of the No. 88 Toyota with Dale Earnhardt Jr. out with a concussion. His average finish here is 13.8, while his driver rating is 96.2.

"As I driver, it's like, 'Now I've got four wins, just make sure I don't [tick] anyone off before the Chase starts", Keselowski joked.

One of the most unique prizes in NASCAR, the victor at New Hampshire is given a live rock lobster provided by Makris Lobster and Steak House in nearby Concord. Johnson has nine top-10 starts this season.

The 23-year-old Bowman has not raced in the Cup series this season and had no top-10 finishes in 71 starts over the 2014-2015 seasons with BK Racing and Tommy Baldwin Racing.

Edwards drove his fastest lap at 131.456 miles per hour, followed on the time chart by Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin (131.284 mph) and Matt Kenseth (131.193 mph).

Kenseth is 10 in the standings, 122 points out of first.

Kevin Harvick: Another week, another track that Harvick does well at.

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