Gordon Shatters Track Record at Michigan

In 2014 Jeff Gordon had not won a pole but led the Sprint Cup Series points.  Last week Gordon won the pole at Watkins Glen and was ecstatic. This weekend in Michigan Gordon broke the track record in the final session of qualifying with a lap of 206.558 miles per hour. The speed is the seventh fastest qualifying speed in NASCAR history and the only one not on a super speedway. It is Gordon’s sixth pole award at Michigan and the 76th of his storied career.

“It’s a team effort,” Gordon said. “ You’ve got to give your input. Those guys are just really smart and making great decisions. We’re trying to catch these Penske guys and the Stewart-Haas guys in qualifying on these big, fast ovals like this. We obviously made some improvements. This is a really good race car. This is our Brickyard 400 car, so it’s a fast one. And let’s hope we can keep it going fast all day on Sunday.”

When asked if he knew the car would be that fast he said, “I knew that we were really strong here the last time we were here and what our team is doing right now, it’s just phenomenal how they continue to improve race cars and just the whole effort. I’m just so proud of them. You don’t go around this place like that, that fast, without a really good race car.”

Joey Logano will line up outside Gordon on the front row. In fact, Ford took up three of the top five spots with Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski qualifying third and fifth.

“That is our seventh front row start this year,” Logano said. “We are very proud of it, don’t get me wrong. It takes a lot of effort to do that but we only have one pole. That is frustrating. That means that is a lot of second place starting positions. We were close again and just weren’t able to do it. I have a really fast Shell Pennzoil Ford this weekend and we have been able to keep showing Penske is very strong in qualifying. We are making all the sessions besides the superspeedways and we are proud to have done that this deep in the season. I have a good car in race trim too. I feel like I have something similar to what I had in this race last year that we won the pole and race with. We are going to come up a little short on the pole but hopefully we can do it in the race.”

Brian Vickers qualified fourth and said, “You’re just on the edge — so close to wide-open.  You have less inputs… if that makes sense… when you’re almost wide-open.  When you’re lifting and braking and steering you have three inputs.  When you’re holding it wide-open, there’s just one input — the steering wheel.  There are less options to manage a tight or loose car. If you have less inputs — you have less control.  I find that any time you’re almost wide-open you have less inputs, which makes it more difficult.”

Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top ten. Other notables include points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr who failed to make it past the first round in 25th. Jimmie Johnson was 30th. Jeff Burton, driving the No.14 of Tony Stewart qualified 27th.

Starting Lineup

Pos. No. Driver Make Speed Time Behind
1 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 206.558 34.857 Leader
2 22 Joey Logano Ford 206.381 34.887 0.03
3 99 Carl Edwards Ford 206.115 34.932 0.075
4 55 Brian Vickers Toyota 205.685 35.005 0.148
5 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 205.644 35.012 0.155
6 4 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 205.438 35.047 0.19
7 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 204.58 35.194 0.337
8 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 204.464 35.214 0.357
9 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 204.354 35.233 0.376
10 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford 204.174 35.264 0.407
11 16 Greg Biffle Ford 203.822 35.325 0.468
12 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 203.47 35.386 0.529
13 42 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 204.082 35.28 0.423
14 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 204.012 35.292 0.435
15 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 203.943 35.304 0.447
16 41 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 203.856 35.319 0.462
17 51 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 203.528 35.376 0.519
18 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 203.384 35.401 0.544
19 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 203.223 35.429 0.572
20 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 203.097 35.451 0.594
21 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 203.029 35.463 0.606
22 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet 202.743 35.513 0.656
23 43 Aric Almirola Ford 202.674 35.525 0.668
24 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 201.969 35.649 0.792
25 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 202.885 35.488 0.631
26 13 Casey Mears Chevrolet 202.458 35.563 0.706
27 14 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 202.412 35.571 0.714
28 21 Trevor Bayne Ford 202.327 35.586 0.729
29 38 David Gilliland Ford 201.822 35.675 0.818
30 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 201.72 35.693 0.836
31 83 Ryan Truex Toyota 201.263 35.774 0.917
32 23 Alex Bowman Toyota 200.496 35.911 1.054
33 98 Josh Wise Chevrolet 199.756 36.044 1.187
34 34 David Ragan Ford 199.534 36.084 1.227
35 7 Michael Annett Chevrolet 199.225 36.14 1.283
36 26 Cole Whitt Toyota 199.132 36.157 1.3
37 37 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 197.851 36.391 1.534
38 32 Travis Kvapil Ford 197.726 36.414 1.557
39 78 Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet 197.466 36.462 1.605
40 36 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 197.066 36.536 1.679
41 33 Alex Kennedy Chevrolet 195.828 36.767 1.91
42 66 Joe Nemechek Toyota 195.17 36.891 2.034
43 40 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 194.049 37.104 2.247

 



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

Ed Coombshttp://www.sportshooter.com/coombse
Ed began covering NASCAR for the former Gater Racing News regularly in 2000. He began working with Speedway Media in 2003 by supplying exclusive photos from the races covered. Currently he is the Editor and Assistant Publisher of Speedway Media. He also manages staff and credentialing. With the closing down of Gater News after nearly 50 years he hopes to become a more regular contributor at Speedway Media as a writer and photographer. My Twitter name is @coombsed feel free to follow me I am a member of the National Motorsports Press Association.

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