When Jeff Gordon got to Dover on Thursday, he said that his team needed to find some consistency in order to compete for the championship the final nine races of the season. He made that job a lot easier on Friday when he claimed the pole ...
When Jeff Gordon got to Dover on Thursday, he said that his team needed to find some consistency in order to compete for the championship the final nine races of the season.
He made that job a lot easier on Friday when he claimed the pole for Sunday's Dover 400 with a fast lap of 156.162 miles per hour.
"It feels great," Gordon said after clinching the top starting spot. "We've been getting better and better at qualifying and (today) we just squeaked one by. I knew we needed to make a few adjustments from practice. I knew it would be close."
It was Gordon's 55th career pole, tying him with Bill Elliott for sixth on the all-time list, and ended a career-high 47-race drought without a pole.
"It's awesome," said Gordon, who has four wins at Dover, including 1996 when he won from the pole. "Momentum starts on Friday as far as I'm concerned."
Scott Riggs qualified second, but he's not sure yet where he will be starting the race. Riggs missed a shift on the warm-up lap and is worried that it may have damaged his motor. The team will inspect the motor to see if there is any obvious damage. If they have to replace it, Riggs will be forced to start at the back of the field on Sunday.
Matt Kenseth, who won the June race at Dover, qualified third to tie his best effort of the season.
"We had a good lap," Kenseth said. "I got through (Turns) 1 and 2 and knew it was really good. I was off a bit in 3 and 4 and that was the difference. We didn't run very well in qualifying trim in practice, but (crew chief) Robbie Reiser made the right call."
Kenseth hopes that he can find the same magic at Dover as he had in June when he led 83 laps and claimed his second win of the season.
"It's the same car," Kenseth said. "I'm really happy with."
Ryan Newman and Joe Nemechek rounded out the top five starting spots.
Mark Martin was the only other Chase contender to qualify in the top 10. He'll start ninth on Sunday. Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 13th and Jimmie Johnson qualified 18th. Kevin Harvick, who took the point lead with his win at New Hampshire last week, starts 25th.
J.J. Yeley had a spectacular wreck going into Turn 1 on his first qualifying lap. The back end came out from under his #18 Chevy and he backed heavily into the outside wall. He walked to the emergency vehicle under his own power and was quickly released from the medical centre.
"It's too bad," Yeley said. "The car was really awesome. I wasn't going to go out and try to set the word on fire. I just got loose."