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Jeff Gordon Collects 200th Pole For Hendrick Motorsports

Jeff Gordon Collects 200th Pole For Hendrick Motorsports

by November 14, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Jeff Gordon won the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday afternoon, earning Hendrick Motorsports’ 200th pole.

Gordon’s pole winning lap was 29.876 seconds at 180.747 mph, and it was his first at the speedway. Jeff Gordon now has 77 career poles in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He sat on the pole earlier this season at Watkins Glen International in August and then the very next weekend at Michigan International Speedway.

“Yeah, and I think today’s pole just proves and shows why they have 200 poles,” Gordon said. “It’s a great organization. We just never quit. We always are bringing great race cars and great power to the racetrack and just surrounded by good people, and that’s what contributes to wins and to poles. We take poles very seriously. They’re hard to get. It’s a lot of work. It’s a great reward, as well, because we all know how important it is to have good pit stops, and a good pit stall makes a big difference there as well as that all‑important track position.”

Kurt Busch will start second on Sunday. The runner-up effort is Busch’s 17th top-10 start of the season. He has eight career top-10 starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch was fourth in Round 1, and he clocked the fastest lap in Round 2.

“It was great to get a read off of Tony Gibson (crew chief) and all of the guys on this No. 41 Haas Automation Chevy,” Busch said. “That was our third attempt together and almost got the pole. We have got a really good read on one another. Now it’s those little things within the car that you try to find and squeak out of it and Jeff Gordon laid down a really great lap to beat my lap. I felt like I got everything I could out of it and really happy with that effort.”

Starting third will be Matt Kenseth. His qualifying effort on Friday marks his 12th top-10 start of the season, and his fifth at the speedway. Kenseth was ninth in Round 1 and sixth in Round 2.

“We just worked on qualifying today so we’ll get into race practice a little bit tomorrow,” Kenseth said. “Then we’ll have a little better idea about Sunday. Today went well — we had good speed the first lap on the track. I thought qualifying went pretty good.”

Brad Keselowski set a new track record on Friday. In Round 1, he ran a lap with a speed of 181.238 mph. Keselowski starts fourth on Sunday.

“I’m not happy with fourth, but I’m happy with how strong we’ve been all day,” Keselowski said. “We had decent runs. Our first qualifying run was really strong and then our second and third just weren’t quite where we wanted to be. I’m not sure what we were missing there, but we were close.”

As for the drivers battling for the championship this weekend, Kevin Harvick will roll off in the fifth position. Denny Hamlin qualified eighth, and Joey Logano clocked the ninth fastest time. Ryan Newman struggled during Round 2. He will start 21st on Sunday.

“This is going to be a race that you are going to go through some changing conditions,” Harvick said after qualifying fourth. “Today was really about trying to get a solid starting spot. And we were able to do that with my Budweiser team. Just really proud of my guys. We had a really good day today. Just got to keep doing what we have to do and see where it all falls on Sunday.”

Denny Hamlin just barely made it through to Round 3. After his run, he said, “I think one of the benefits of having a good car on the long run is you’re able to do what we were able to do. I’m proud of the whole FedEx Express team. To have an extra cycle on our tires and be that close — that’s very encouraging. It’s been a great day so far and very encouraged by what I’ve seen so far. The car is feeling really good, so we’ll see what we’ve got.”

Qualifying ninth, Joey Logano said, “The 22 bunch kept their heads together, made good changes and found speed in the car. We were third in the first round and that surprised the heck out of me. I was just hoping to make it through the first round. We were able to rebound off a car that didn’t seem to be too fast in qualifying trim and qualified halfway decent there in ninth and will be able to race up from there. I feel my car was better in race trim than it was in qualifying trim for sure.”

After a disappointing 21st qualifying effort, Ryan Newman said, “We were just a little bit tight getting in (to the corner) mostly. A buddy of mine once said it isn’t where you start, it is where you stop. We have got half of them beat to start; we’ll keep digging with the Caterpillar Chevrolet. We just struggled there a little bit. My first run was pretty good. The on the re-fires we weren’t where we needed to be. The second run wasn’t what we needed it to be. Our first run was where we were in practice. In the second run, we just weren’t where we needed to be. We missed it just a little bit on the balance. Then after than the tires fall off so much that your next run is just a hope and a prayer. It’s not where we want to be, but we do better fighting back.”

Coverage for the Ford EcoBoost 400 will begin at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) Sunday afternoon.

Ford EcoBoost 400 Starting Lineup:
1.) #24 Jeff Gordon
2.) #41 Kurt Busch
3.) #20 Matt Kenseth
4.) #2 Brad Keselowski
5.) #4 Kevin Harvick
6.) #15 Clint Bowyer
7.) #18 Kyle Busch
8.) #11 Denny Hamlin
9.) #22 Joey Logano
10.) #78 Martin Truex Jr.
11.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
12.) #48 Jimmie Johnson
13.) #55 Brian Vickers
14.) #51 Justin Allgaier
15.) #99 Carl Edwards
16.) #27 Paul Menard
17.) #9 Marcos Ambrose
18.) #43 Aric Almirola
19.) #1 Jamie McMurray
20.) #16 Greg Biffle
21.) #31 Ryan Newman
22.) #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
23.) #5 Kasey Kahne
24.) #3 Austin Dillon
25.) #47 AJ Allmendinger
26.) #21 Trevor Bayne
27.) #42 Kyle Larson
28.) #14 Tony Stewart
29.) #13 Casey Mears
30.) #33 Brian Scott
31.) #34 David Ragan
32.) #10 Danica Patrick
33.) #40 Landon Cassill
34.) #83 JJ Yeley
35.) #38 David Gilliland
36.) #36 Reed Sorenson
37.) #98 Josh Wise
38.) #95 Michael McDowell
39.) #7 Michael Annett
40.) #32 Blake Koch
41.) #23 Alex Bowman
42.) #26 Cole Whitt
43.) #66 Brett Moffitt

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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