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Associated Press
Jimmie Johnson raises the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the pole position during qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Thursday.

Johnson wins first pole of the year at Charlotte

CONCORD, N.C. – Jimmie Johnson won the pole Thursday night for the Coca-Cola 600.

Johnson turned a lap at 194.911 mph at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the third round of NASCAR’s knockout qualifying format for his first pole of the Sprint Cup season.

Brad Keselowski will start alongside Johnson on the front row Sunday night in the longest Sprint Cup race of the year. It’s the seventh time this season Keselowski will start on the front row.

Kasey Kahne was third, followed by Danica Patrick and Clint Bowyer.

Johnson, winless this season, has won the race three times.

Sprint Cup points leader Jeff Gordon’s struggles in practice runs carried over to qualifying. He will start 27th – one spot behind last week’s All-Star race winner, Jamie McMurray.

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