Friday, November 14, 2014

Gordon scores Hendrick Motorsports' 200th pole in Homestead

Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images
Jeff Gordon grabbed the Coors Light Pole Friday night for the Ford Ecoboost 400 with his lap of
29.876 seconds at 180.747 mph. The first-place start marks number 200 for Hendrick Motorsports and the 77th for Gordon in 761 career starts. If you do the math, that's a pole about ever 10 starts over his career.

This was Gordon's first pole in 16 starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It's small consolation for missing the finals on the last corner of the last lap of the last race of the Eliminator Round last week.

"I think even if we win this race on Sunday, that's only going to make it hurt a little bit more in some ways because we could have won the championship if we were here," said Gordon post-qualifying.

"I think it's not that I'm over it yet, but I've definitely ‑‑ getting to the racetrack, it allows all of us to focus on what we do best, which is go and compete, and when you're fine‑tuning the setup of the car and making laps, especially at this place, right up an inch off the wall every lap, that takes your mind off of it."

Apparently unfazed by the controversy surrounding him, Kurt Busch rattled off a lap of 180.632 mph, good enough for the outside of the front row. Matt Kenseth followed close behind for third, with Brad Keselowski starting fourth. As has been the pattern this season, the second round of qualifying saw the track record fall, this time to Keselowski with his run of 181.238 mph.

Kevin Harvick starts fifth, closest to the front of the final four Chase contenders. Between him and the next Chase contender are Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch, then Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano roll off 8th and 9th respectively. Martin Truex Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the final round's top 12.

"Obviously, you want to try to qualify on the pole and do the best that you can," said Harvick, "But it's hard to complain about a top five and being in front of the other three is really the ultimate goal today and tomorrow and the next day. I think if we prepare, we should be competitive."

Starting back in 21st, Ryan Newman has some ground to make up if he's going to snatch the Sprint Cup from the clutches of Harvick, Hamlin and Logano.

Whichever of the four drivers finishes best, whether he wins the race or not, will win the Championship.

The final race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup starts at 3:00 pm Sunday, aired on ESPN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio. You can see the weekend's TV schedule here.

The full starting order:

Rank Driver Time Speed
1   Jeff Gordon 29.876   180.747  
2   Kurt Busch 29.895   180.632  
3   Matt Kenseth 29.951   180.294  
4   Brad Keselowski 30.001   179.994  
5   Kevin Harvick 30.009   179.946  
6   Clint Bowyer 30.068   179.593  
7   Kyle Busch 30.087   179.480  
8   Denny Hamlin 30.109   179.348  
9   Joey Logano 30.124   179.259  
10   Martin Truex, Jr. 30.156   179.069  
11   Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 30.280   178.336  
12   Jimmie Johnson 30.563   176.684  
13   Brian Vickers 30.167   179.004  
14   Justin Allgaier 30.178   178.938  
15   Carl Edwards 30.201   178.802  
16   Paul Menard 30.202   178.796  
17   Marcos Ambrose 30.205   178.778  
18   Aric Almirola 30.235   178.601  
19   Jamie McMurray 30.235   178.601  
20   Greg Biffle 30.256   178.477  
21   Ryan Newman 30.296   178.241  
22   Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 30.344   177.959  
23   Kasey Kahne 30.375   177.778  
24   Austin Dillon 30.392   177.678  
25   A.J. Allmendinger 30.298   178.230  
26   Trevor Bayne 30.314   178.136  
27   Kyle Larson 30.315   178.130  
28   Tony Stewart 30.333   178.024  
29   Casey Mears 30.390   177.690  
30   Brian Scott 30.476   177.189  
31   David Ragan 30.489   177.113  
32   Danica Patrick 30.496   177.072  
33   Landon Cassill 30.622   176.344  
34   J.J. Yeley 30.629   176.304  
35   David Gilliland 30.672   176.056  
36   Reed Sorenson 30.745   175.638  
37   Josh Wise 30.760   175.553   OP
38   Michael McDowell 30.773   175.479   OP
39   Michael Annett 30.877   174.887   OP
40   Blake Koch 30.882   174.859   OP
41   Alex Bowman 30.934   174.565   OP
42   Cole Whitt 31.009   174.143   OP
43   Brett Moffitt 31.069   173.807   OP
* OP = Owner's Points

2 comments :