Gordon grabs pole at Rockingham

Skip Barber trained Jeff Gordon won the pole position for today's Dura-Lube 400 at North Carolina Speedway, a race that all agree will be missing someone special. Despite the understandably somber emotions and memories that carry from last...

Skip Barber trained Jeff Gordon won the pole position for today's Dura-Lube 400 at North Carolina Speedway, a race that all agree will be missing someone special. Despite the understandably somber emotions and memories that carry from last weekend's tragic loss of Dale Earnhardt, three-time champion Gordon was able to focus on the task at hand and the business of being race ready.

"We've had a great qualifying average here," Gordon said. "Even though we maybe only sat on one pole before, we've always been pretty close up there toward the front.

"Today had lots to do with, well, a lot of things. I think there was definitely something missing when we all got here in the garage this morning. But I also feel like there was some maybe extra boosts of power behind all of us to go out there and do our jobs."

"The car was pushing real bad getting into the corners, and we freed the car up a bunch, but it didn't seem to help practice. But when I went out to qualify, I went ahead and gave up that first lap and went for it on the second lap, got some heat in the tires, got some momentum built up, and the car did a lot of things I wasn't expecting it to do."

The result was a fast lap in 23.401 sec. (156.455mph), which boosted Gordon past [fellow Skip Barber trained racer] Steve Park to the top spot by .009sec.

Gordon, who like many others in the garage wore a black No. 3 hat in Earnhardt's memory, "to let everybody know we're thinking of Dale," Gordon said. "I want to dedicate this pole to him. It's a great opportunity to let everyone know how much I respected him, and how much we're going to miss him."

- Andrew Torres

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Steve Park , Skip Barber