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Gordon wins pole in Charlotte

by Pete McCole
Thursday, October 10, 2013

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Jeff Gordon, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS won the pole with qualifying lap of 27.791 seconds, 194.308 mph
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com

Jeff Gordon scored his 74th-career pole position in Thursday night’s qualifying session for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series reaches the halfway mark in the fifth race in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Taking advantage of a late draw in the evening qualifying session, Gordon took to the track as the final qualifier and clocked in at 27.791 (194.308 mph) to lead a parade of drivers who powered to the top spot in the closing stages - with six of the final eight qualifiers trading the top two positions separated by less than a tenth of a second.

Kevin Harvick took the second spot, followed by Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne.

Gordon, who scored his first career Sprint Cup series race here in May of 1994, notched his ninth Charlotte pole to tie Ryan Newman for the most at Charlotte among active drivers.

“Man, that was awesome. It’s been a while since we’ve had a pole here at Charlotte as well as doing it in that fashion,” said Gordon, who is currently fourth in the Chase standings. “The way that the draw was today, there’s a lot of fast cars going late in qualifying. But when you didn’t see the lap times picking up as much as we thought they were going to, I didn’t know if that late draw was going to really be a big factor. But I saw that the guys ahead of me were putting down good laps and I knew the grip was there and what the car did in practice. The car just did everything I wanted it to do.”

Kahne took the initial pole as the second driver to take to the track and held the top spot with a 27.879 as 36 drivers took their turn and none could eclipse Kahne’s lap, with Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. just missing the top spot.

Biffle then came out as the 38th qualifier and knocked off Kahne with a lap of 27.841, then watched as Johnson came up with a lap of 27.865, just short of the pole.

Harvick took the track next and bumped Biffle, turning in a lap of 27.806 to top the field, but before Harvick could even take his helmet off Gordon flashed across the line with his second pole of the season, leaving last weekend’s race winner shaking his head.

“I felt like I didn’t get everything in (Turns) 3 and 4,” said Harvick. “I knew from the way things were going and the way practice was that I needed to try to get everything that I could in (Turns) 1 and 2 and not get tight coming off of Turn 4 and I probably lost the pole right there. We would really have liked to have the pole tonight.”

Earnhardt, Jr., Newman, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch rounded out the top ten. Points leader Matt Kenseth, who came out as the first qualifier of the night, will start 20th.

With only 43 cars entered for Saturday night’s race, everyone made the show including Brian Scott (19th), Kyle Larson (21st) and Blake Koch (43rd), all of whom will be making their Sprint Cup debuts.

Lineup

Pos Driver # Make Sponsor Speed Time Behind
1 Jeff Gordon 24 Chevrolet Axalta 194.308 27.791 Leader
2 Kevin Harvick 29 Chevrolet Jimmy John's 194.203 27.806 --0.015
3 Greg Biffle 16 Ford 3M 193.959 27.841 --0.050
4 Jimmie Johnson 48 Chevrolet Lowe's Dover White 193.791 27.865 --0.074
5 Kasey Kahne 5 Chevrolet Quaker State 193.694 27.879 --0.088
6 Dale Earnhardt Jr 88 Chevrolet Time Warner Cable 193.535 27.902 --0.111
7 Ryan Newman 39 Chevrolet Quicken Loans 193.458 27.913 --0.122
8 Juan Pablo Montoya 42 Chevrolet Target 193.417 27.919 --0.128
9 Kyle Busch 18 Toyota M&M's 193.403 27.921 --0.130
10 Kurt Busch 78 Chevrolet Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet 193.112 27.963 --0.172
11 Aric Almirola 43 Ford Smithfield 192.995 27.980 --0.189
12 Joey Logano 22 Ford Shell Pennzoil / Hertz 192.974 27.983 --0.192
13 Paul Menard 27 Chevrolet Menards / Duracell 192.754 28.015 --0.224
14 Clint Bowyer 15 Toyota Raspberry 5-Hour Energy benefiting Living Beyond Breast Cancer 192.719 28.020 --0.229
15 Carl Edwards 99 Ford Fastenal 192.575 28.041 --0.250
16 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 17 Ford My Best Buy 192.362 28.072 --0.281
17 Martin Truex Jr 56 Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 192.232 28.091 --0.300
18 Denny Hamlin 11 Toyota FedEx Ground 192.123 28.107 --0.316
19 Brian Scott 33 Chevrolet Shore Lodge 192.020 28.122 --0.331
20 Matt Kenseth 20 Toyota Dollar General 191.993 28.126 --0.335
21 Kyle Larson 51 Chevrolet Target 191.959 28.131 --0.340
22 Mark Martin 14 Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 191.782 28.157 --0.366
23 Brad Keselowski 2 Ford Miller Lite 191.748 28.162 --0.371
24 Bobby Labonte 47 Toyota Scott Products 191.632 28.179 --0.388
25 Jamie McMurray 1 Chevrolet McDonald's 191.564 28.189 --0.398
26 Jeff Burton 31 Chevrolet Caterpillar 191.469 28.203 --0.412
27 Brian Vickers 55 Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 190.961 28.278 --0.487
28 Casey Mears 13 Ford No. 13 GEICO Ford Fusion 190.590 28.333 --0.542
29 Marcos Ambrose 9 Ford BOSTITCH 190.550 28.339 --0.548
30 David Ragan 34 Ford Taco Bell 190.349 28.369 --0.578
31 Cole Whitt 30 Toyota Swan Energy 190.342 28.370 --0.579
32 Landon Cassill 40 Chevrolet Moon Shine Attitude Attire 189.673 28.470 --0.679
33 Josh Wise 35 Ford MDS Transport 189.195 28.542 --0.751
34 David Gilliland 38 Ford Long John Silver's 189.069 28.561 --0.770
35 Danica Patrick 10 Chevrolet GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness 188.923 28.583 --0.792
36 David Reutimann 83 Toyota Burger King-Dr. Pepper 188.607 28.631 --0.840
37 Michael McDowell 98 Ford Phil Parsons Racing 188.422 28.659 --0.868
38 Joe Nemechek 87 Toyota TBA 187.885 28.741 --0.950
39 Dave Blaney 7 Chevrolet Breast Cancer Awareness 187.852 28.746 --0.955
40 Timmy Hill 32 Ford U.S. Chrome 187.350 28.823 --1.032
41 Travis Kvapil 93 Toyota Dr. Pepper 186.696 28.924 --1.133
42 J.J. Yeley 36 Chevrolet United Mining Equipment 185.893 29.049 --1.258
43 Blake Koch 95 Ford SupportMilitary.org 180.572 29.905 --2.114

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