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Gordon leads Hendrick 1-2-3-4 sweep at Talladega

In Sprint Cup Qualifying
Saturday, April 16, 2011

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Jeff Gordon
Forget all the early-season talk about the power of Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines and Roush Yates Engines -- at least where Saturday's qualifying session at Talladega Superspeedway is concerned.

Paced by a pole-winning effort from six-time Talladega winner Jeff Gordon, who toured the 2.66-mile track in 53.723 seconds (178.248 mph), the power of Hendrick Motorsports engines swept the top four starting spots during time trials for Sunday's Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup race, the eighth event of the season.

The Coors Light pole award was Gordon's first of the season, second at Talladega and the 70th of his career, breaking a tie for third all time with Cale Yarborough. Jimmie Johnson (177.844 mph) qualified second, followed by teammates Mark Martin (177.807) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (177.765).

Paul Menard (177.702) nailed down the fifth starting spot, and Landon Cassill, whose Phoenix Racing Chevrolet also sports Hendrick power, qualified sixth at 177.685 mph.

A smaller restrictor plate -- with openings of 15/16 inches (down 1/16 inch from the plates run at Talladega last fall) -- slowed qualifying speeds to a relative crawl. Gordon's pole speed was more than 6 mph slower than the 184.640 mph Juan Montoya ran last fall.

Lineup

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 178.248 53.723 Leader
2 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 177.844 53.845 -0.122
3 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Carquest / GoDaddy.com 177.807 53.856 -0.133
4 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Amp Energy 177.765 53.869 -0.146
5 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Schrock Cabinetry / Menards 177.702 53.888 -0.165
6 09 Landon Cassill Chevrolet Thank A Teacher Today / Security Benefit 177.685 53.893 -0.170
7 6 David Ragan Ford UPS "We Love Logistics" 177.439 53.968 -0.245
8 22 Kurt Busch Dodge Shell / Pennzoil-AAA 177.379 53.986 -0.263
9 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 177.370 53.989 -0.266
10 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet BB&T 177.353 53.994 -0.271
11 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Good Sam Club / Camping World 177.353 53.994 -0.271
12 115 Michael Waltrip Toyota Aaron's / Auburn National Champions 177.317 54.005 -0.282
13 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 177.182 54.046 -0.323
14 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 177.143 54.058 -0.335
15 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Bush's Baked Beans 177.120 54.065 -0.342
16 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Best Buy 177.087 54.075 -0.352
17 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M Scotch-Blue Painter's Tape 177.074 54.079 -0.356
18 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 177.061 54.083 -0.360
19 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 177.032 54.092 -0.369
20 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 177.005 54.100 -0.377
21 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 176.872 54.141 -0.418
22 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota NEMCO Motorsports 176.695 54.195 -0.472
23 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Haas Automation 176.659 54.206 -0.483
24 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Dewalt 176.575 54.232 -0.509
25 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal Black 176.519 54.249 -0.526
26 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 176.477 54.262 -0.539
27 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Cat Financial 176.461 54.267 -0.544
28 38 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver's / TMone 176.425 54.278 -0.555
29 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 176.370 54.295 -0.572
30 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 176.347 54.302 -0.579
31 4 Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull 176.298 54.317 -0.594
32 97 Kevin Conway Toyota Extenze 176.195 54.349 -0.626
33 135 Steve Park Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 176.162 54.359 -0.636
34 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's Pretzel 175.939 54.428 -0.705
35 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Golden Corral 175.806 54.469 -0.746
36 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 175.410 54.592 -0.869
37 71 Andy Lally* Ford Interstate Moving Services 175.349 54.611 -0.888
38 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 175.154 54.672 -0.949
39 34 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 175.134 54.678 -0.955
40 13 Casey Mears+ Toyota GEICO 174.595 54.847 -1.124
41 32 Terry Labonte+ Ford C&J Energy 174.271 54.949 -1.226
42 7 Sam Hornish Jr.+ Dodge Fast Five / Speed Energy - - -
43 46 Bill Elliott Chevrolet Red Line Oil Champion's Provisional - -
- - DNQ - - - - -
44 60 Mike Skinner Toyota Big Red 175.090 54.692 -0.969
45 37 Tony Raines Ford Front Row Motorsports 175.000 54.720 -0.997
46 66 Michael McDowell Toyota HP Racing LLC 174.840 54.770 -1.047

+ Set by Owner Points

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