The 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup begins with Sunday's 400-mile race. Johnson's run of five straight championships was snapped last season, when Tony Stewart took the title.
Johnson will start from the front after winning his second pole of the year and 27th of his career. The other 11 drivers in the Chase had mixed results in qualifying. Matt Kenseth was third, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fourth, Kasey Kahne was sixth and Kansas native Clint Bowyer was ninth- but Earnhardt will have to start from the back because of an engine change.