|Jeff Gordon celebrates|
Four-time Watkins Glen International winner Jeff Gordon picked up his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season, topping Sprint Cup Series qualifying at the road course in Watkins Glen, New York on Saturday.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver led the way in the second round with a best speed of 129.466 mph, holding off last year's pole-winner Marcos Ambrose. The Richard Petty Motorsports driver set a track record of 129.491 mph in the opening round, but topped out at 129.138 after the cut. He'll start alongside Gordon in Sunday's Cheez-It 355 at The Glen (1 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Jimmie Johnson (128.968) and Kevin Harvick (128.859) make up the second row, while Kurt Busch (128.816) and AJ Allmendinger (128.701) will follow.
After time expired in the first round, Joey Logano bumped Tony Stewart from the top 12. The three-time champion will start 13th, which is the same spot he started from for his 2009 win at the Glen.
Other notables who did not make the cut for the second round were Carl Edwards (16th), defending winner Kyle Busch (19th), Martin Truex Jr. (25th) and Clint Bowyer (24th).
Danica Patrick was dead last in 43rd.
|Jeff Gordon celebrates|
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – POLE WINNER
"Oh gosh, I am so proud of this pole, and the effort the this Drive To End Hunger team put in this weekend, as well as that lap. Qualifying has really been what has been hurting us a Watkins Glen, and I blame myself really. I'm so happy that I got three shots at it today. I really think that made the big different. The first lap I did okay, but I got held up a little coming back to the checkered. The second one was a really good lap and got us into the top-12. I just tried to do the same things in that last lap. Alan (Gustafson crew chief) made a slight adjustment. I thought it was about the same as what I ran before, I didn't think it was going to be that much better. Wow what a lap. I'm so excited. Today is Leo's (son) birthday and I told him on the phone earlier that I was going to go try to get a pole for him realistically thinking I had a shot at it. We were going for it and we got it done. Happy Birthday Buddy. I'm pumped, this gives us a lot of confidence. I think today does make a statement, We didn't do too much in qualifying runs. Just the way we struggled here in the last couple years. This has been one of our toughest tracks, then to start the weekend off with a pole. Heck yes! We've got real possibilities with the Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet. After today, I believe anything is possible."
WHAT DOES THIS POLE MEAN TODAY?
"That was huge. That was huge. We made several qualifying runs yesterday and really struggled. We have been struggling here qualifying these last few years. It's had a lot to do with our poor performance here at Watkins Glen. I didn't think we had that in us. I really didn't. Well I should say I knew the car had it in it. I didn't think I did. I honestly was missing a few marks out there. That last lap I just hit all the corners really well and learned what I could from the previous laps with our Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet. I'm so proud. Today is my son's birthday. There is no doubt this is for his birthday."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 3RD
"Very fast race car. We unloaded strong and found something really good for race trim. It didn't work so well yesterday for us in qualifying trim. We were still eighth on the board, but a pretty good gap from where we were up to the front. The No. 88 car had a great lap so we really copied the No. 88's qualifying set-up. It had a lot of speed. So a big thank you to Steve Letarte and Dale, Jr. for a fast set-up under the car that extra little bit to get us up there in the top five. Things were much different in the car and on my lap in the second session. I was trying to mimic little traces and lines I had seen on the data from Junior's lap. I had a mistake into turn six so I regret that a little bit, but still with the mistake a real good starting position."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 4TH
"I didn't really put a whole lap together. The car was really good and just didn't get everything out of it that I needed to get the pole. Still a solid effort by our Budweiser team and a really good starting position. From there we should be able to hopefully race up front all day."
KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 5TH
"It was a nice qualifying session today with the adjustments we made overnight we put ourselves in contention to be in that final elite group. We had to make a second outing when we were right on the bubble. We were 11th at the time. We did get bumped to 12th when we took our green flag. We would have stayed 12th, but it was like we were buying insurance. Sometimes you don't need insurance, but it's good to have it. Yet we still picked up on our third time out. That was the good thing that we kept laying down good lap times. The car is solid. Were we a pole sitting car? Maybe, but we were in position, we have a top-five starting spot and that is what you come here to do on Friday and Saturday, now it's race time."
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 SCOTTS PRODUCTS CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 6TH
ON HIS WEEKEND SO FAR AND HIS QUALIFYING LAP.
"I just never hit a lap. Just disappointed with myself. The weekend has gone alright. I think we need to keep improving a little, just little things. I think the car is fast. Pole would have been nice, but more than anything just disappointed that I never felt like I nailed a lap. I don't know if I could have run what Jeff (Gordon) ran, but I didn't give myself a shot at it."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 7TH
"Real happy we are happy with how the car has got real good speed. I was real disappointed because we lost all our brakes on that last run. They cooked in between the sessions and didn't have a brake pedal on any of the straightaways and really had to do a lot of pumping on the brakes. Like coming out of (turn) 10 and going into (turn) eleven it would be going to the floor in just that little bit of stretch there. We learned a little bit of a lesson on that and won't let that happen again. But the car has amazing grip, great speed. We have been real happy all weekend and so just appreciate my guys working so hard and putting such a good car out there. I feel lucky to be able to drive it. I haven't really had to try to find any speed myself or help them sort out anything on the car balance wise. They unloaded a real fast car and I've been learning how to drive it and just getting better and better the longer the weekend goes like we usually do at these places."
|1||24||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet||Drive to End Hunger||129.466||68.126||Leader|
|5||41||Kurt Busch||Chevrolet||Haas Automation||128.816||68.470||+0.344|
|6||47||AJ Allmendinger||Chevrolet||Scott Products||128.701||68.531||+0.405|
|7||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Chevrolet||National Guard||128.186||68.806||+0.680|
|8||20||Matt Kenseth||Toyota||Dollar General||128.179||68.810||+0.684|
|9||2||Brad Keselowski||Ford||Miller Lite||128.052||68.878||+0.752|
|11||22||Joey Logano||Ford||Shell Pennzoil||127.761||69.035||+0.909|
|12||55||Brian Vickers||Toyota||Aaron's Dream Machine||127.510||69.171||+1.045|
|13||14||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1||128.205||68.796||+0.670|
|15||51||Justin Allgaier||Chevrolet||BRANDT Professional Agriculture||128.026||68.892||+0.766|
|16||99||Carl Edwards||Ford||Kelloggs / Cheez-it||127.839||68.993||+0.867|
|17||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||FedEx Ground||127.782||69.024||+0.898|
|18||26||Cole Whitt||Toyota||Bully Hill Vineyeards Toyota Camry||127.715||69.060||+0.934|
|20||27||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Splash / Menards||127.573||69.137||+1.011|
|21||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||Ford||Ford EcoBoost||127.562||69.143||+1.017|
|22||13||Casey Mears||Chevrolet||No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS||127.322||69.273||+1.147|
|24||15||Clint Bowyer||Toyota||RK Motors Charlotte||127.278||69.297||+1.171|
|25||78||Martin Truex Jr||Chevrolet||Furniture Row||127.245||69.315||+1.189|
|26||34||David Ragan||Ford||Dockside Logistics||127.243||69.316||+1.190|
|29||95||Michael McDowell||Ford||K-LOVE Radio||127.177||69.352||+1.226|
|30||5||Kasey Kahne||Chevrolet||Farmers Insurance||127.012||69.442||+1.316|
|32||77||Nelson Piquet Jr||Ford||WORX||126.715||69.605||+1.479|
|33||38||David Gilliland||Ford||Long John Silver's||126.704||69.611||+1.485|
|34||32||Boris Said||Ford||Genny Light||126.571||69.684||+1.558|
|35||83||Ryan Truex||Toyota||Burger King Toyota Camry||126.508||69.719||+1.593|
|36||23||Alex Bowman||Toyota||Dustless Blasting Toyota Camry||125.824||70.098||+1.972|
|37||98||Josh Wise||Chevrolet||Phil Parsons Racing||125.566||70.242||+2.116|
|38||33||Alex Kennedy||Chevrolet||Media Cast||125.266||70.410||+2.284|
|40||66||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||Land Castle Title||125.101||70.503||+2.377|
|41||40||Landon Cassill||Chevrolet||Newtown Building Supplies||124.986||70.568||+2.442|
|42||7||Michael Annett||Chevrolet||Pilot / Flying J Chevrolet||124.981||70.571||+2.445|