Concord, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Jeff Gordon grabbed the pole for the Bank of
America 500 after topping Kevin Harvick in Thursday night's qualifying at
Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Gordon, who was the driver to qualify in the 43-car field, turned a lap at
194.308 mph for his second pole of the season and the 74th of his Sprint Cup
Series career. The Hendrick Motorsports driver is currently fourth in the
Chase for the Sprint Cup championship standings. He is 32 points behind Matt
Kenseth, who qualified 20th. Gordon has yet to win a race this season.
It was the ninth pole for Gordon at Charlotte, which moved him into a tie with
Ryan Newman for second most poles here. David Pearson holds the record with 14
at this track.
"That is awesome," Gordon said. "It's been a while since we've done a pole
here at Charlotte as well as doing it in that kind of fashion. The way that
the draw was today, there were 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 would really be a big factor."
Gordon's first career pole in the series came at Charlotte on Oct. 10, 1993,
which made him the youngest pole winner at this track. He was 22 years, 2
months and 6 days old at the time.
Harvick was the second-to-last driver to qualify. He posted a lap at 194.203
mph, which was 0.015 seconds behind Gordon's lap.
"I felt like I didn't get everything in (turns) 3 and 4," Harvick. "I knew
from the way things were going and the way practice was that I needed to get
everything I could in 1 and 2, and not get tight coming off of turn 4. And I
probably lost the pole right there."
Last Friday at Kansas, Harvick ended a 254-race pole drought in NASCAR's top
series. He survived a season-high 15 cautions and held off Kurt Busch and
Gordon in the closing laps for his third win of the season.
"We would've really liked to have the pole tonight, but everybody knows how
we've qualified in past, and to be on the front row is going to be an amazing
benefit for us," Harvick said.
Greg Biffle qualified third, while Gordon's teammate, Jimmie Johnson, took the
fourth spot. Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were fifth and sixth,
respectively, giving Hendrick four of the top-six starting spots.
Earnhardt, who turned 39 years old on Thursday, is expected to make his 500th
career start in the series on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET).
Johnson, a six-time race winner at Charlotte, is presently three points behind
Newman placed seventh, followed by Juan Pablo Montoya and brothers Kyle and
Kurt Busch. The top-10 finishers in qualifying are in the Chase, with the
exception of Montoya.
The remaining Chase drivers and their starting positions include: Joey Logano
(12th), Clint Bowyer (14th) and Carl Edwards (15th).
The Sports Network