Gordon nips Truex Jr for Martinsville pole

Jeff Gordon earned today's Bud Pole at Martinsville Speedway by a margin of 0.050 seconds over fellow Chevy driver Martin Truex Jr. The Chase for the Cup points leader, who is aiming for his fifth Cup championship, laid down a lap of 19.938 ...

Jeff Gordon earned today's Bud Pole at Martinsville Speedway by a margin of 0.050 seconds over fellow Chevy driver Martin Truex Jr. The Chase for the Cup points leader, who is aiming for his fifth Cup championship, laid down a lap of 19.938 (94.974mph) as he led a Chevrolet sweep of the two front rows.

"That number one pit stall is pretty important here. I think about every time I sit on the pole here, I have never led the first lap," commented Gordon. "Can't say that it really contributes to that great track position but it certainly doesn't hurt to be up toward the front."

Driving for Hendrick Motorsports, Gordon landed his seventh NASCAR Nextel Cup Series pole this season. His attempt was in the mid-pack of the qualifying order on a track that he has started from the top slot six times.

The Cup teams were lucky to get a chance to practice earlier as rain greeted them this morning, when it let up and the track was dried, they took laps around the 0.526-mile oval to get some rubber laid down on the green track and then came the mist. With a lot of patience and time winding down, the series did get the chase for the pole in the books.

"It was a tricky day with the limited practice. Steve Letarte (crew chief), it was a coin flip, but he made the call to put the qualifying trim. With such limited practice (due to the weather) those three laps I had on the track today were very important," Gordon said. "I felt like we had a great car then and that we had a shot at the pole today."

Truex clocked a lap at 19.988 (94.737mph) and his gap over Kevin Harvick was a mere 0.011 seconds. The Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver had mixed emotions, happy to have had "a good lap" and "the car drove really good. I was really happy and not sure if I could really make it any better. So, the guys did a good job for me without making a qualifying run or anything, they pretty much hit the nail right on the head."

Truex's disappointment showed as he added, "I'm a little disappointed to be second again. This is the third time for us this year. I really want to get a pole and get my guys in the Bud Shootout next year. But I'm real proud of them and happy with the run and I've just got to thank the guys. They did a great job for me."

Richard Childress Racing's Harvick will slot third on the grid with a run that was 0.014 seconds faster than Gordon's teammate and the defending Cup champion. Harvick was not to worried about missing out on track time today and feels confident for Sunday's challenge.

"For us it was not too big a deal just for the fact that we ran really well here last time, so we had good notes to go back on. We spent the first four or five laps of practice kind of with the splitter on the ground, so we didn't get to practice but about three laps. We got what we needed to and they made some good adjustments based upon what we did the first race here and everything worked out," said Harvick.

Jimmie Johnson sits second in the Chase standings and will start alongside Harvick in two days. The teams have two practices tomorrow, weather permitting, before they put on the show for the fans in Virginia.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr.
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Hendrick Motorsports