for your iPhone
for your iPad
NASCAR

NASCAR Links

Scanner Frequencies

Meet the Staff

2014 Schedule

Gordon recovers to snag poll at New Hampshire

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Friday, September 21, 2012

Advertisement

Jeff Gordon
Jeff Gordon took a giant step forward on Friday afternoon, while Denny Hamlin found unexpected trouble during qualifying for Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Touring the Magic Mile in 28.232 seconds (134.911 mph), Gordon won the pole for the second Chase for the Sprint Cup race, edging Kyle Busch (134.793 mph) for the top starting spot. The Coors Light Pole Award was Gordon's second of the season and the 72nd of his career, third-most all time.

Defending Cup champion Tony Stewart (134.568 mph) qualified third, followed by non-Chase drivers Brian Vickers (134.482 mph) and Carl Edwards (134.354 mph).

Gordon's Chase prospects suffered a major blow last Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway, when the throttle of his No. 24 Chevrolet stuck and sent him hard into the Turn 1 wall, resulting in a 35th-place finish.

Gordon fell to 12th in the championship standings -- last among eligible drivers -- 47 points behind leader and race winner Brad Keselowski and 21 back of 11th-place Matt Kenseth.

On Friday afternoon, however, Gordon started a rally with his fourth pole in 36 starts at the Magic Mile.

"I think we surprised ourselves a little bit with that pole," Gordon said. "This is something we didn't expect. I think we expected to be strong in the race, but for qualifying, we haven't sat on the pole at a non-restricted track for quite some time, so this was a big one -- and certainly good timing."

In fact, the pole was Gordon's first at a non-restrictor-plate speedway since he qualified first at Charlotte in October 2010.

Hamlin, who is tied for fourth in the standings and 15 points behind Keselowski, predicted victory at New Hampshire after running out of fuel and finishing 16th at Chicagoland. Fastest in Friday's practice session, Hamlin appeared to be arcing toward that goal -- until his qualifying attempt.

Because his team failed to change his tire pressure to the qualifying setup, the driver of the No. 11 Toyota floundered to 32nd in the time trials. Only once in the past 25 races at Loudon has a driver qualified 32nd or worse and come back to win the race (Kurt Busch won from 32nd on the grid in 2004).

"I knew something was wrong," Hamlin said after his run. "We ended up having race pressures, and we didn't put our qualifying pressures in, so that was a tough one. I knew something was really, really wrong, because we were just -- the car was bobbing down real bad -- but simple mistake.

"We'll rebound from it. We're quick enough."

In addition to Gordon, Stewart and Hamlin, other Chase drivers qualified as follows: Kasey Kahne, sixth; Martin Truex Jr., ninth; Clint Bowyer, 12th; Greg Biffle, 13th; Dale Earnhardt Jr., 14th; Keselowski, 15th; Kevin Harvick, 16th; Jimmie Johnson, 20th; and Matt Kenseth, 25th.

Lineup

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 134.911 28.232 Leader
2 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 134.753 28.265 -0.033
3 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Mobil 1 / Office Depot 134.568 28.304 -0.072
4 55 Brian Vickers Toyota Freightliner / Jet Edge 134.482 28.322 -0.090
5 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 134.354 28.349 -0.117
6 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 134.179 28.386 -0.154
7 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Sylvania / Menards 134.098 28.403 -0.171
8 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Aspen Dental 133.934 28.438 -0.206
9 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 133.872 28.451 -0.219
10 22 Dave Blaney Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 133.863 28.453 -0.221
11 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Wheaties 133.854 28.455 -0.223
12 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 133.825 28.461 -0.229
13 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / GE Appliances 133.647 28.499 -0.267
14 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet AMP Energy / Diet Mtn. Dew / National Guard 133.637 28.501 -0.269
15 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 133.614 28.506 -0.274
16 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 133.600 28.509 -0.277
17 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Bush's Baked Beans 133.567 28.516 -0.284
18 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 133.544 28.521 -0.289
19 43 Aric Almirola Ford Trim Fit 133.301 28.573 -0.341
20 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 133.128 28.610 -0.378
21 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 133.110 28.614 -0.382
22 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 133.021 28.633 -0.401
23 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 132.966 28.645 -0.413
24 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Energizer 132.850 28.670 -0.438
25 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Zest 132.799 28.681 -0.449
26 34 David Ragan Ford Shriner's Hospital for Children 132.720 28.698 -0.466
27 195 Scott Speed Ford Jordan Truck Sales 132.595 28.725 -0.493
28 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 132.558 28.733 -0.501
29 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet LiftMaster 132.356 28.777 -0.545
30 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 132.195 28.812 -0.580
31 98 Michael McDowell Ford Phil Parsons Racing 131.929 28.870 -0.638
32 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 131.633 28.935 -0.703
33 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 131.442 28.977 -0.745
34 10 David Reutimann Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 131.180 29.035 -0.803
35 191 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet Plinker Tactical 130.963 29.083 -0.851
36 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves 130.837 29.111 -0.879
37 38 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 130.792 29.121 -0.889
38 179 Kelly Bires Ford BBI / Bestway 130.640 29.155 -0.923
39 33 Stephen Leicht* Chevrolet Little Joes Autos.com 130.367 29.216 -0.984
40 37 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet MaxQworkforce.com 130.229 29.247 -1.015
41 36 Tony Raines+ Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 128.359 29.673 -1.441
42 32 Mike Olsen+ Ford North Country Ford 126.153 30.192 -1.960
43 30 David Stremme Toyota Inception Motorsports 129.882 29.325 -1.093
DNQ 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 129.714 29.363 -1.131
DNQ 249 Jason Leffler Toyota Robinson-Blakeney Racing 129.701 29.366 -1.134
DNQ 119 Jeff Green Toyota Plinker Tactical 129.248 29.469 -1.237
DNQ 26 Josh Wise* Ford MDS Transport 131.306 29.007 -0.775

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article