BUSCH: Chicagoland qualifying summary

(Joliet, Ill. -- July 9, 2004) Though Chicagoland Speedway is one of the tracks Jeff Gordon has failed to win at, he can at least claim a pole here. The four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champ qualified for Sunday's Tropicana 400 with a ...

(Joliet, Ill. -- July 9, 2004) Though Chicagoland Speedway is one of the tracks Jeff Gordon has failed to win at, he can at least claim a pole here.

The four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champ qualified for Sunday's Tropicana 400 with a blistering 186.942 mph -- setting a new track record and claiming his fourth consecutive pole and his fifth overall in NASCAR's top series this season.

" -- I didn't know how we would find that speed. We never stopped focusing on what we could do to get the balance of the car a little better, to get the car a little bit more comfortable," said Gordon.

Rookie Kasey Kahne will start second.

Speeds today toppled the tracks previous records. In fact, 16 of the 46 drivers who attempted qualifying runs broke last year's record.

Hendrick Motorsports dominated qualifying. Gordon's teammates Jimmie Johnson will start third and Brian Vickers will start fourth.

Roush Racing's Greg Biffle will start fifth.

Gordon has not won at Chicagoland Speedway in three previous attempts. But the four-time NASCAR champion is on quite a roll. He's won the last two races, both from the pole, and jumped from sixth to third in the points standings in just two weeks.

He's also the only driver to complete every lap at Chicagoland Speedway.

"I think Jeff is hitting a peak in this season for himself and the whole 24 team," Johnson said. "

The Tropicana 400 is at 2:30 p.m. Sunday (CT).

After a rain delay of about two hours, defending Tropicana Twister 300 winner Bobby Hamilton Jr. posted the day's quickest time to start up front for Saturday's race. It is Hamilton's first pole this season and the fourth of his career.

Rookie Kyle Busch qualified second, while "Front Row Joe" Nemechek will have to settle for third. Matt Kenseth was fourth.

Most competitors believe Hamilton is the man to beat. He has been quickest all day and was even fastest in NASCAR Busch Series Happy Hour.

"We weren't able to capitalize on (Hamilton's) car," Busch said after qualifying. "I don't think anybody else will be able to, either, this weekend. It'll probably be a runaway show like it was last year."

The Tropicana Twister 300 is at 1 p.m. Saturday (CT).

www.chicagolandspeedway.com

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Kasey Kahne , Brian Vickers , Kyle Busch
Teams Hendrick Motorsports