Pole Winner Brian Vickers Will Start in the Back

Kelly CrandallSenior Writer IFebruary 21, 2009

Last night, during qualifying at the Auto Club Speedway, Brian Vickers bested Jimmie Johnson to win the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Vickers ran a lap of 183.439 mph (39.250 seconds) to earn his sixth career pole.

"I couldn't ask for much more out of the car," said Vickers. "We fought 'tight' [an understeer] in practice quite a bit and we found something there in that last [practice] run that helped us."

It was short lived.

Vickers will now start in the back of the field on Sunday after the team decided to switch engines after the team discovered a problem that they have not made public. But NASCAR officials did confirm that last night and the team did remove the engine.

Vickers will still be credited with the pole and will still have his choice of pit stalls for the race. But now, the inside line with move up a position and Jamie McMurray will start the race in position one.

Jimmie Johnson, who was the quickest in practice and favorite for the pole position, was cracking a joke about being beat by Vickers. "The only thing I can think is Vickers and I went to In-N-Out Burger last night and I had a double and he had a single," Johnson said. "I guess that extra patty killed me."

The Auto Club 500 is scheduled for 5:00 PM Eastern time on Sunday night with final practice for the event taking place today at around 5:15 PM Eastern time.

Source: NASCAR.com