Jeff Gordon earns pole at Watkins Glen

Jeff Gordon earns pole at Watkins Glen

Four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon turned the fastest lap at the road course in Watkins Glen to land his 44th career pole. Gordon's lap of 124.580 mph also busted the track record set by Dale Jarrett by nearly three miles-per-hour. It is...

Four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon turned the fastest lap at the road course in Watkins Glen to land his 44th career pole. Gordon's lap of 124.580 mph also busted the track record set by Dale Jarrett by nearly three miles-per-hour. It is Gordon's first pole at the Glen in five years, and second of this season.

#24 Jeff Gordon.
Photo by Steve Rossini.
"I've never felt so much tension and drama," said Gordon. "Just because of the rain. I was just so afraid it was going to rain. What a great effort by this Dupont team. I couldn't be more proud of everybody that has worked to pick up our pace from the last couple of races. We came up here and tested and it paid off.

"Last week at Indy we had one of the most frustrating days of we'd ever had on qualifying day, and I'd hoped that the test that we did up here.would pay off and it certainly has today.

"I think everywhere we go these days track position is important, but I guess especially on a road course - it's the most important. It's very hard to pass at these tracks, because of the length of the track the cars get really spread out. The pit strategy is so much different here; you pretty much just go until you have to come in. When the caution comes out, that makes you think a little bit. Let's just hope fuel mileage isn't an issue, and we can just go out there and race real hard. Take what we learned in the test and apply it. This was half the battle sitting on the pole. I'm pumped. I'm excited."

Pepsi 400 winner Greg Biffle earns the best start of a rookie so far this season, rolling the No. 16 Roush Ford off from the outside pole.

"I probably left a tenth at least on the table coming back to the checkered flag there," said Biffle. "So I'll probably get beat and that will be the reason why. I'm really proud of these guys. We came up here and tested and it was really good."

Biffle's teammate Mark Martin starts third.

Mark Martin.
Photo by Earl Ma.
"Well, I've been doing this stuff a long time and I kind of know what people got," said Martin. "I know that my lap wasn't perfect and I know those guys (Gordon) were capable of going as fast as we were. I knew that he had a shot at it and that's OK. At least we didn't lose by a thread here. We've got a great race car. That's the best starting spot I've had all year."

Rounding out the top five are defending race winner Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace.

The second place contender in the race for the championship, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. takes the green flag from sixth, while point leader Matt Kenseth starts on spot behind the No. 8 Chevy in seventh.

"It was a good lap," said Kenseth. "I was a little disappointed with the speed. That's about what we ran in practice. I was hoping I could run around a flat, so I'm a little disappointed in that. I thought I could get a little more out of it, but there was probably more grip out there than I thought there was and I didn't attack the course hard enough.that's a good place."

The highest starter among the six road course experts hired to run this race is Boris Said in 10th.

Earlier in today's practice, Ryan Newman crashed the No. 12 Dodge and was forced to qualify in the team's backup car. Newman escaped injury in an accident that left him trapped in the car.

Newman lost control when the car got loose going into the carousel and ended up in the foam barrier at turn eight. The Dodge rolled onto the driver's side. Safety workers appeared to be delayed getting to Newman. Once they did arrive, he was able to crawl out and walk to the ambulance. Newman was checked and released from the infield medical center.

Newman will start his Penske Dodge Intrepid from 13th on Sunday.

Forty-seven drivers attempted to make the forty-three car field, failing to make the show are Ken Schrader, road course aces Joe Varde and Scott Maxwell and Larry Foyt.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Ken Schrader , Boris Said , Greg Biffle , Ryan Newman , Larry Foyt , Joe Varde , Mark Martin