Loudon, NH (Sports Network) - After a disappointing finish in last weekend's
first race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Jeff Gordon rebounded on Friday by
winning the pole for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Gordon, who was the second-to-last driver in the 47-car qualifying field,
posted a lap at 134.911 mph for his second pole of the season and the 72nd of
his Sprint Cup Series career. It was also his fourth pole in 36 races at New
Last Sunday, Gordon finished 35th at Chicagoland Speedway and fell 47 points
out of the lead. He experienced a throttle malfunction and crashed into the
wall late in the race.
"That was a great lap," Gordon said. "It started out as a tough day for us in
race trim. We were trying some things that weren't working too well for us,
and then switched over to qualifying trim and immediately went to second on
the board. So I wasn't sure what to expect in qualifying."
Gordon's lap time was quicker 0.33 seconds quicker than Kyle Busch, who was
the 29th driver in the qualifying order.
"Our qualifying effort was good," said Busch, who turned a lap at 134.753 mph.
"(Crew chief) Dave (Rogers) and the guys made some nice changes from practice
to qualifying to get the car a lot better. It reacted well and was very fast.
I was actually shocked by the time it ran but pleased with it at the same
Tony Stewart, the defending series champion and last year's fall race winner
at New Hampshire, qualified third, while Brian Vickers and Carl Edwards
rounded out the top-five.
"It was definitely a good lap for us," Stewart said. "We had a good practice
this morning and early this afternoon. It was really nice to be able to back
it up in qualifying. It's a perfect way to start the weekend off, that's for
Kasey Kahne took the sixth spot, followed by Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, Martin
Truex Jr. and Dave Blaney, who substituted for Sam Hornish Jr. in Penske
Racing's No. 22 Dodge for qualifying. Hornish is competing in Saturday's
Nationwide Series event at Kentucky Speedway. He is expected to drive the No.
22 car in the Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire.
Gordon, Stewart, Kahne and Truex are those drivers in this year's 12-member
field for the Chase.
The other championship contenders and their starting positions include: Clint
Bowyer (12th), Greg Biffle (13th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (14th), Brad Keselowski
(15th), Kevin Harvick (16th), Jimmie Johnson (20th), Matt Kenseth (25th) and
Denny Hamlin (32nd).
Keselowski, who won at Chicagoland, enters this race with a three-point lead
over Johnson and an eight-point advantage over Stewart.
Scott Riggs, Jason Leffler, Jeff Green and Josh Wise failed to qualify for
Sunday's 300-lap race, which is scheduled to start just after 2 p.m. (ET).
The Sports Network