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Gordon wins pole in Michigan at over 206 mph

Sets new track record
Friday, August 15, 2014

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Jeff Gordon
Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, set a track qualifying record en route to winning the pole for the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Friday. Gordon turned in a fast lap of 206.558 mph around the two-mile oval. It is the seventh-fastest qualifying speed in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history.

"I knew that we were really strong here the last time we were here and what our team is doing right now it's just phenomenal how they continue to improve race cars and just the whole effort.  I'm just so proud of them. You don't go around this place like that, that fast without a really good race car.  Thanks to Axalta, Drive To End Hunger, Pepsi, Chevrolet, everybody that made this possible.  I'm so excited about the way our race team is performing right now," Gordon said following his second pole of the season and 76th of his career.

Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's Chevrolet SS), who set the previous record of 204.557 mph when the series visited MIS in June, qualified sixth with a speed of 205.438 mph.

The pole was the 12th for Chevrolet this season.

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS – Pole Winner:

MODERATOR: "We are now joined by our pole-winner for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 here at Michigan International Speedway, Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet SS. Jeff won the Coors Light Pole Award today with a speed of 206.558 mph. This is the 17thqualifying record set during the 2014 season and this is Gordon's 76th pole in 748 NASCAR Sprint Cup series races, which is third on the all-time series pole list. Talk a little bit about your run out there.

GORDON:
"It was obviously a great run. The car was just phenomenal. I was in here (Media Center) earlier after practice and so I was a little unsure of what we were going to have come qualifying. But the car was just phenomenal. The first session, the Axalta Chevy, I just didn't get all of it. The car was there and it had more speed and it had more grip, I just wasn't sure how aggressive I could be because of some of the grip issues we were having in practice. So, when I felt that, I was pretty excited. I knew it was a good lap and was hoping it would hold on so we didn't have to go make another run. And that's the way it ended up working out. The second run, I was able to get pretty much all of it and it just stuck great. The third run, we just had to make a slight adjustment, a couple things, and the car again was phenomenal. It feels great. What an awesome job by this team. The cars have just been phenomenal and I am having such a blast driving them right now."

QUESTIONS FOR GORDON:

YOUR LAP RECORD IS TWO MILES FASTER THAN THE PREVIOUS RECORD SET BY KEVIN HARVICK. WHAT IS THE MAIN REASON? AERO PACKAGE, TIRES, CAN YOU POINT ON SOMETHING?

"Yes. Well, I don't know where to start first actually. You can point at the race track. This track is smooth. There is a tremendous amount of surface area where the tire can get a lot of grip to it. And the next thing is the cars. You've heard about how many poles have been track records this year and that's a testament to the things that the teams and NASCAR did over the off-season. It's a great looking car, but it also performs very, very well with the ride heights being lowered down, a little bit extra spoiler, and we're always trying to find more horsepower. So, all of those things contribute to how fast we're going around here. It doesn't feel that fast, I'll be honest. It feels fast through the corners. I know that I've gotten a tremendous amount of throttle in it and I'm carrying a lot of speed, but at the same time, when you're carrying that much speed through the corners you don't feel like you're going that fast (laughs) down the straightaways. There's not a big acceleration or change. So, it only really kind of gets my attention when I look up there and I see the speed because on the track you don't realize you're going that fast."

IN JUNE, YOU TIED FOR THE MOST LAPS LED IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE RACE. HOW DO YOU EXTEND THAT TO THE ENTIRE RACE THIS TIME?

"I totally agree and that's our main focus right now. We had a good race car the last time we were here; a very good race car, a winning car in my opinion. A lot of it was restarts. We just did not get the restarts that we needed. That's on me. And then, maintaining track position; so a little bit with some pit strategy and how we're going to strategize for this race. We learned a lot the last time we were here. You can't predict the cautions; it's not like a road course. You can almost run this race like a road course, but not quite with the speeds that we're carrying. So, I'm looking forward to spending some time with Alan Gustafson and our engineers talking about what we can do to maintain that track position from a pit strategy standpoint, and then I know they're going to be leaning on me hard to try to also maintain that on the restarts."

ASSUMING THE CONDITIONS WERE RIGHT, WHAT WOULD THIS CAR DO ON ONE OF THE PLATE TRACKS?

"Oh, without a restrictor plate? I think you'd be surprised. It wouldn't be a lot faster than that just because you kind of have terminal velocity, you know. The car has a tremendous amount of grip and downforce, but it also has quite a bit of drag to it. So, if they allowed us to play around with it now, and do some things with the spoiler and lay it down because we just don't need that much downforce at a place like Talladega. We could go extremely fast. I would say, I don't know, 230 or 240 mph; or faster. I don't know. I wouldn't want to do that. Don't get me wrong. I don't want to be driving it when it's going that fast. But, with this spoiler where it's at right now, we'd only be a little bit faster than that."

TALK ABOUT THE MOMENTUM THAT YOU GUYS HAVE HAD. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, INTERNALLY, TO KEEP THAT GOING? WHAT CAN YOU DO TO KEEP IT GOING UNTIL THE END OF THE SEASON?

"Things like today and things like we did last week. Right now we're in that position where we just continue to elevate the quality of the cars and keep trying to address issues that we had earlier in the season where we needed to qualify better and race better. Just looking at the total team and how we're approaching each race and what we can do better. And as long as we keep bringing race cars like this, and they just continue to push hard at making them better each time we come back, and we see the results paying off, it just builds the confidence up in all of us in what we're doing. And you can go to the race track with confidence and fine-tuning instead of searching for big chunks here and there. We've talked about confidence in the past. You can't just have all this confidence and not have the car to go along with it. You've got to have the whole package. And right now, I feel like we're bringing the whole package. And last week, actually, with what happened to us in the race, actually that was something that we want to make sure that if it's happening, it happens now and we get it fixed so we don't have that happen again when it's crucial in the Chase. And we just want to keep this momentum going right into the Chase and hopefully all the way through it."

Lineup

POS. CAR DRIVER MANUFACTURER SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Axalta 206.558 34.857 Leader
2 22 Joey Logano Ford Shell Pennzoil 206.381 34.887 --0.030
3 99 Carl Edwards Ford Ford EcoBoost 206.115 34.932 --0.075
4 55 Brian Vickers Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 205.685 35.005 --0.148
5 2 Brad Keselowski Ford Miller Lite 205.644 35.012 --0.155
6 4 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Jimmy John's 205.438 35.047 --0.190
7 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Certain Teed / Menards 204.580 35.194 --0.337
8 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet American Ethanol 204.464 35.214 --0.357
9 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald's 204.354 35.233 --0.376
10 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford Zest 204.174 35.264 --0.407
11 16 Greg Biffle Ford Roush Performance 203.822 35.325 --0.468
12 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet WIX Filters 203.470 35.386 --0.529
13 42 Kyle Larson Chevrolet Target 204.082 35.280 --0.423
14 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy 204.012 35.292 --0.435
15 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Great Clips 203.943 35.304 --0.447
16 41 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Haas Automation 203.856 35.319 --0.462
17 51 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet BRANDT Professional Agriculture 203.528 35.376 --0.519
18 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota Dollar General 203.384 35.401 --0.544
19 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-Hour Energy 203.223 35.429 --0.572
20 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Black & Decker 203.097 35.451 --0.594
21 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 203.029 35.463 --0.606
22 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet Kingsford Charcoal 202.743 35.513 --0.656
23 43 Aric Almirola Ford Eckrich 202.674 35.525 --0.668
24 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries 201.969 35.649 --0.792
25 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet National Guard 202.885 35.488 --0.631
26 13 Casey Mears Chevrolet No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS 202.458 35.563 --0.706
27 14 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops 202.412 35.571 --0.714
28 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 202.327 35.586 --0.729
29 38 David Gilliland Ford Love's Travel Stops 201.822 35.675 --0.818
30 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Jimmie Johnson Foundation 201.720 35.693 --0.836
31 83 Ryan Truex Toyota Burger King Toyota Camry 201.263 35.774 --0.917
32 23 Alex Bowman Toyota Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry 200.496 35.911 --1.054
33 98 Josh Wise Chevrolet Phil Parsons Racing 199.756 36.044 --1.187
34 34 David Ragan Ford CSX - Play It Safe 199.534 36.084 --1.227
35 7 Michael Annett Chevrolet Pilot / Flying J Chevrolet 199.225 36.140 --1.283
36 26 Cole Whitt Toyota Iowa City Capital Partners Toyota 199.132 36.157 --1.300
37 37 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Accell Construction Inc. 197.851 36.391 --1.534
38 32 Travis Kvapil Ford TBA 197.726 36.414 --1.557
39 78 Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet Furniture Row 197.466 36.462 --1.605
40 36 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet TBA 197.066 36.536 --1.679
41 33 Alex Kennedy Chevrolet Little Joe's Autos 195.828 36.767 --1.910
42 66 Joe Nemechek Toyota Land Castle Title 195.170 36.891 --2.034
43 40 Landon Cassill Chevrolet Hillman Racing 194.049 37.104 --2.247

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