Jeff Gordon Scores Qualifying Sweep at Talladega

Jeff Gordon earned his fourth Coors Light Pole Award of the season
Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images

In what will likely be his last-ever start in a restrictor-plate race, Jeff Gordon will lead the field to the green flag for the 81st time in his career as he scored his second straight Talladega Speedway pole in Saturday's qualifying sessions for Sunday's CampingWorld.com 500, the final race in the "Contender Round" in the Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Gordon's no. 24 3M Chevrolet led both rounds of qualifying in Saturday's session, earning the top spot with a lap of 49.234 seconds (194.500 mph) for his fourth Coors Light Pole Award of the season. Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne ran second in both rounds to earn the outside pole. Fellow HMS driver Jimmie Johnson was third, followed by Matt Kenseth. Dale Earnhardt. Jr. was fifth to put all four Hendrick cars in the top five.

Saturday's pole was Gordon's fourth at Talladega – including his front row start last May where he finished 31. Gordon is currently sixth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings, having yet to win a race this season.

"I did know we had a fast car, but I wasn't sure," said Gordon. "This is a different car than what we had here earlier this year. We really feel like we were dominant here in May. I made a mistake getting too aggressive to pit road. Hopefully we will learn from our mistakes and we can take advantage of that No. 1 pit stall or selection anyway, as well as, a very fast racecar and try to keep it up front."

Matt Kenseth's third-place starting spot was a welcome relief for the driver with the biggest deficit to overcome on Sunday, coming into this weekend's race dead-last among the 12 drivers vying to be one of the eight drivers who survive to advance to the next round of the Chase.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]"One thing about Talladega is you always have to expect the unexpected so who knows what's going to happen," said Kenseth. "Everybody wants to qualify well and try to get an early pick on your pit stall if you can and do all those kinds of things.

"With this kind of racing you make one wrong move or pick a line to stop moving then you could be 30th before you even know it within a lap. Starting position not super, super important here, but yet I'd rather be toward the front than in the back."

Chase contender Martin Truex, Jr. will also have a hill to climb to get to the front of the pack after his qualifying time was disallowed after he dropped below the double yellow lines during the opening round, sending him to the rear of the field for the start of the Sunday's race

Truex, Jr. was nonplussed by NASCAR's ruling, saying he was unaware of the rule, but at the same time was not concerned about starting in the rear.

"Yeah, I didn't know you couldn't do that here in qualifying," said Truex, Jr. "We have done it the last few times. I didn't get the memo that you couldn't do that this time around. Just done what we have done here the last few times and didn't realize there was a rule change.

"It won't change (our race strategy) at all. We started in the back last time too. We will be fine."

Other starting positions for the Chase contenders are Kevin Harvick (seventh), Denny Hamlin (eighth), Joey Logano (tenth), Brad Keselowski (11th), Kurt Busch (14th), Carl Edwards (15th), Kyle Busch (16th) and Ryan Newman (18th).

Jeb Burton and Michael Annett failed to qualify for the race.

Results

Pos. No. Driver Make Speed Time

Behind

1 24 Jeff Gordon Chevy 194.500 49.234 Leader
2 5 Kasey Kahne Chevy 193.638 49.453 –0.219
3 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 193.584 49.467 –0.233
4 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 193.580 49.468 –0.234
5 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevy 193.162 49.575 –0.341
6 6 Trevor Bayne Ford 192.777 49.674 –0.440
7 4 Kevin Harvick Chevy 192.599 49.720 –0.486
8 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 192.533 49.737 –0.503
9 21 Ryan Blaney Ford 192.509 49.743 –0.509
10 22 Joey Logano Ford 192.498 49.746 –0.512
11 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 192.212 49.820 –0.586
12 14 Tony Stewart Chevy 192.116 49.845 –0.611
13 27 Paul Menard Chevy 192.486 49.749 –0.515
14 41 Kurt Busch Chevy 192.320 49.792 –0.558
15 19 Carl Edwards Toyota 192.320 49.792 –0.558
16 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 192.197 49.824 –0.590
17 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford 191.981 49.880 –0.646
18 31 Ryan Newman Chevy 191.938 49.891 –0.657
19 16 Greg Biffle Ford 191.846 49.915 –0.681
20 10 Danica Patrick Chevy 191.812 49.924 –0.690
21 9 Sam Hornish Jr Ford 191.750 49.940 –0.706
22 55 David Ragan Toyota 191.739 49.943 –0.709
23 42 Kyle Larson Chevy 191.727 49.946 –0.712
24 1 Jamie McMurray Chevy 191.593 49.981 –0.747
25 43 Aric Almirola Ford 191.512 50.002 –0.768
26 3 Austin Dillon Chevy 191.486 50.009 –0.775
27 95 Michael McDowell Ford 191.226 50.077 –0.843
28 13 Casey Mears Chevy 191.157 50.095 –0.861
29 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 191.103 50.109 –0.875
30 26 J.J. Yeley Toyota 190.962 50.146 –0.912
31 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevy 190.837 50.179 –0.945
32 62 Timmy Hill Chevy 190.582 50.246 –1.012
33 98 Michael Waltrip Toyota 190.234 50.338 –1.104
34 35 Cole Whitt Ford 190.158 50.358 –1.124
35 32 Bobby Labonte Ford 189.815 50.449 –1.215
36 83 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota 189.519 50.528 –1.294
37 7 Alex Bowman Chevy 189.440 50.549 –1.315
38 38 David Gilliland Ford 189.361 50.570 –1.336
39 51 Justin Allgaier Chevy 189.133 50.631 –1.397
40 34 Josh Wise Ford 188.712 50.744 –1.510
41 40 Landon Cassill Chevy 188.189 50.885 –1.651
42 33 Travis Kvapil Chevy 188.174 50.889 –1.655
43 78 Martin Truex Jr Chevy 0.000 0.000 -49.234

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