Updated: July 11, 2014, 6:50 PM ET

Turn 4 TV: The Race Team Alliance

Is a drivers' alliance next?

By K. Lee Davis | ESPN.com

LOUDON, N.H. -- NASCAR president Mike Helton on Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway directly addressed the formation of the Race Team Alliance earlier in the week. He soon may have something else to worry about.

Six-time and defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson supports the RTA concept and wonders if maybe drivers should follow suit.

"That opportunity is definitely there," Johnson said. "I don't know where others stand and feel with it. I haven't put any thought into it myself. I guess in some ways Pandora's box has been opened with this topic and discussion. We will see where it leads. Again, the way I see this is everybody cares for our sport and people are trying to be more organized to help lead and direct our sport in all ways. We will see what the future holds and I feel like there is a positive outcome.

Jimmie Johnson
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesJimmie Johnson sees the value in the Race Team Alliance. Will drivers see any value in forming an alliance of their own?

"This is a good thing. I don't feel like this is going to drive separation or a split [in the sport]. And I don't even know where that separation or split would take place. The things that have been discussed through the RTA, it's all about saving costs. It's all about driving costs down. I don't see how that's a bad thing. I know the conversation is owners against NASCAR, but NASCAR is trying to help bring costs down. So is the RTA. I think everybody is working the same direction."

The RTA, announced Monday, involves nine multicar teams with goals that include lowering costs and creating one entity to talk to NASCAR about issues facing the teams.

Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman has been elected the RTA's chairman. Another goal is to get all of the teams in NASCAR involved outside the current members (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates; Hendrick Motorsports; Joe Gibbs Racing; MWR; Richard Childress Racing; Richard Petty Motor Sports; Roush Fenway Racing; Stewart-Haas Racing; and Team Penske).

"We will continue to do business the way we've done business," Helton said earlier Friday.

An example of that, though, is the way NASCAR quashed a drivers' walkout, led by Richard Petty, before the 1969 race at Talladega. It was the first race held there and many of the regulars of the day were concerned about safety on the mammoth 2.66-mile high-banked track, the longest and fastest in NASCAR. Petty led many of the regular drivers out of the track, and "Big" Bill France, czar of NASCAR at the time, found replacement drivers to run the race.

When that race proved successful, any thought of a drivers' union was seen as a road to nowhere.

But we may be a long way from a repeat of that, as Johnson sees it.

"I just don't see any downside in the owners working closer together in sharing what is important to them, what is important to them to run their business, to run a successful business and to be able to put a race car in the field each week. I don't see anything wrong with that," he said. "That environment is there today, it is a far looser structure than it has been and now hopefully it's going in a direction where there could be a more calm and clear voice. If it is within our own industry from a team owner's side, if it's directed toward NASCAR, directed towards license merchandising, a variety of angles, this could be beneficial in a lot of ways to have a clear voice."

Kyle Busch rolls to pole

By K. Lee Davis | ESPN.com

Kyle Busch finished second in the July race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last year. He's going to start on the pole for the Camping World RV Sales 301 on Sunday, but knows all too well it's how you finish.

"We've been close here," he said. "I think the biggest thing is I always like to be able to take off and go and when I can take off and go -- it usually means I'm too tight halfway through the run and on after that -- and that's when those guys seem to be able to beat us. The second race last year we ran a lot better on the long run, but the race was a little too short and I ran out of time to our teammate [Matt Kenseth].

"All in all, 1-2 [finish] by [Joe Gibbs Racing], so we'll see if we can put the 18 out front."

Jimmie Johnson will start on the outside of the front row. Busch's teammate Denny Hamlin will start third and Tony Stewart fourth. Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 12, the drivers who made it into the final round of knockout qualifying.

Busch's time of 27.574 seconds at 138.130 mph was the 13th track qualifying record set this season. Busch, who has won 15 poles in his Sprint Cup career, earned his second pole of the season and it will be his eighth top-10 start of 2014.

For Johnson, it was a good day but not a perfect one.

"Of course we want to get the pole, want to be faster, but Kyle found a little bit more out there than us," he said. "We feel really good about our Lowe's Chevrolet. We did some race runs to start practice off. The car was right where we wanted it based on our test session here a month ago and [qualifying] trim went really well too.

"This helps make the weekend so much easier to race. You get a good pit-stall pick, good track position and you can fine-tune from here. Hopefully we will be able to fine-tune and make a race-winning car."

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