With Jimmie Johnson finally having won a race, what will the media do now?

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When he was brought into the media center of Charlotte Motor Speedway after winning Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, Jimmie Johnson asked the media a question before he took theirs.

“What the hell are you all going to write about now? We won. Anybody?” Johnson said with a big smile on his face.

That’s simple, Jimmie, we’ll write about Matt Kenseth still being winless.

Getting a bit more serious, the weight of not having a win in 2014 has finally been lifted off Johnson’s shoulders. And while that’s good for Johnson, who becomes the 10th different winner in the season’s first 12 races, it’s terrible for NASCAR.

Wait, let me clarify that a bit more.

It’s terrible for every other driver in Sprint Cup. Because we know all too well that when Johnson gets hot, he typically stays hot.

And with a number of tracks coming up where he has been nothing short of outstanding, Johnson is poised to go from previously being winless to an unstoppable winning machine.

Look at this coming Sunday’s race at Dover. In 24 starts there, Johnson will be going for his ninth win and 18th overall top 10 finish.

From there, the series moves to Pocono, where Johnson has three wins and 16 top 10 finishes in 24 starts.

Surprising as it may seem, after that comes Michigan, where Johnson has never won a Cup race, one of only five tracks that he has never visited victory lane at.

Then there’s Sonoma (one win), Kentucky (no wins), Daytona (three wins) and New Hampshire (three wins).

So over the course of the next seven upcoming races, Johnson has earned 18 wins, nearly one-quarter of the 67 wins he has earned in his Cup career.

If this were Major League Baseball, Johnson would be coming into the sweet spot of the season. And with his win Sunday, it doesn’t get much sweeter – or optimistic – that he’ll most definitely make up for what it took 12 races to finally cash in on.

“The thing that’s on our side is that we’ve got on our side is a little bit of time to really get an understanding of what’s going on,” crew chief Chad Knaus said. “The other thing we’ve got on our side is we’re going to Dover, which is by far one of Jimmie’s favorite racetracks.

“Then we’re going to Pocono, which is one of my favorite racetracks. Doesn’t hurt. So I think over the next couple of weeks we’re going to be in pretty good shape.”

That’s all the other 40-some Cup teams needed to hear. But for Johnson, he’ll savor Sunday’s win a little longer than normal, still knowing that there are 24 more races still to be won this season.

“We’re off to a good start,” Johnson said. “Multiple wins do that. If we can take advantage of the next few tracks that are great tracks for us, it would be great momentum.”

Now Johnson can go back somewhat to normal. Everything is right in his world, in the sense that he finally won a race in 2014. Still, Johnson was never vexed or jaded or anxious about it. It just took him a little longer than planned.

“More than anything, I just got tired of answering the question (of when his first win of 2014 would come),” Johnson admitted. “There wasn’t a lot of frustration due to pressure of winning. There was frustration in not having fast racecars, but that’s a different situation.

“Granted, tonight simplifies things. We’ll take it, move on. We really want to heat up and win races later in the season, especially before the Chase starts.

“I guess we’ve created this environment for ourselves. I honestly wasn’t stressing. The fact that 12 races created that much buzz just means we’ve done a lot of great things over the years, so I’ll turn it into a compliment.”

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Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.