Clint Bowyer paced the field in Saturday’s Busch Pole Qualifying at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, clocking a 40.086-second lap at 179.614 mph. This is Bowyer’s fourth career pole. His No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford will be the first to take the green flag in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Jimmie Johnson, the final NASCAR Cup Series driver to qualify, made it close at the end. The No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was 0.007 seconds short of Bowyer’s time. Johnson’s 179.093 mph will put him second.
Alex Bowman, who led both Friday practice sessions, qualified third at 179.359 mph mph in his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Kurt Busch came in fourth at 178.958 mph. His No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet failed pre-qualifying inspection twice.
Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford was then fifth at 178.882 mph. Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. completed the top 10.
Ross Chastain, filling in the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford for the sidelined Ryan Newman, ran 27th at 176.544 mph.
Martin Truex Jr. missed qualifying after three inspection failures. It took the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota four tries to pass. He’ll start from the back in Sunday’s race.
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