It looks like Charlotte Motor Speedway would be the cure for whatever is ailing five-time Sprint Cup series champion Jimmie Johnson.  Johnson, who is on the pole for Sunday night’s race, hasn’t gone this late into the season since 2003, his sophomore season. That year he finally broke through at Charlotte.

On Thursday, Johnson grabbed the top starting spot for NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca Cola 600, with a fast lap in the third round of knock out qualifying of 194.911 mph.

‘”It was a really strong lap. I’m very pleased with it,” said Johnson. “Happy to get this Lowe’s Chevrolet on pole for this big race coming up Sunday afternoon. We knew we had a great race car today so it was nice to get out there and work our way through the three segments here and get it done." 

Charlotte seems to also be a bit of elixir for Kansas native Clint Bowyer. The #15 car is also looking for its first win at a points paying race this season, qualified fifth for Sunday night’s race. He is also coming off a win at Charlotte in the Sprint Showdown.

“It was a solid qualifying session,” said Bowyer. “A good starting spot.  Certainly, it’s pole day so you want the pole, but nonetheless top-five starting spot for a long race.  It’s a good way to start the weekend.”

Brad Keselowski will start alongside Johnson on the front row. Kasey Kahne was third and Danica Patrick fourth.