LONG POND, Pa. Jimmie Johnson needed multiple attempts to make it through pre-qualifying inspection, then set a track record with a lap of 180.654 mph to win the pole Friday at Pocono Raceway.
Kyle Busch? He could only think the five-time Sprint Cup champion and crew were up to no good. Johnson went 29th instead of his scheduled 24th, and the later start under the clouds as the track got faster may have given him an advantage over the cars that went out under the sun.
Johnson, the Sprint Cup points leader, had inspection issues last month at New Hampshire and used another late start to qualify third until his time was scrapped after the No. 48 failed inspection.
Are Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus working around the rules? Or can they simply not get the car in tune in time for inspection?
"A lot of these other teams figure out how to play by the rules," Busch said. "It seems like there's one that's sometimes late. Quite often, more than the rest."
Busch will start second and Carl Edwards third. Ryan Newman, last week's winner of the Brickyard 400, starts fourth.
Johnson, never one to exchange in a spat, brushed off Busch's comments.
"It's only (a few) spots now. It didn't make a difference," he said. "I wish there was some master plan behind it all. They're welcome to try it. They're welcome to experience the stress that goes with it. My heart was pounding out of my chest trying to get in the car and beat the clock. I don't wish that kind of stress on anybody. It's not what I want to go through."
NASCAR saw its 11th track qualifying record set this season by the Gen-6 car.
Joey Logano's old mark of 179.598 mph was topped by six drivers, including Logano. Johnson now has 31 poles in 420 career Cup starts.
"Track records are cool," Johnson said. "It makes all the drivers and teams smile."
ARCA Corey Lajoie won at Pocono for his second victory in three career starts.
LaJoie came from the rear of the 36-car field to win the caution-free, 50-lap race.
Frank Kimmel, the series points leader who is tied with Iggy Katona for the ARCA career victory record with 79, was second.
IndyCar in Lexington, Ohio Two-time series champion Scott Dixon drove his Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to the fastest time in the morning session for Sunday's Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.