Jeff Gordon On Pole For Final Start At Talladega Superspeedway

Jeff Gordon On Pole For Final Start At Talladega Superspeedway

by October 24, 2015 0 comments

Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Set to make his final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series appearance at Talladega Superspeedway, Jeff Gordon ran a 49.234 second lap at 194.500 mph to capture the Coors Light Pole Award on Saturday.

Gordon now has 81 career poles, and Sunday’s marked his fourth of the 2015 season. In Gordon’s 46 starts at Talladega Superspeedway, he has sat on the pole in five of the events. The 44-year old enters Sunday’s 500 sixth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings. He’s only seven points ahead of Kyle Busch, who currently holds the first spot that won’t transfer to the Eliminator Round.

“These guys work extremely hard,” Gordon said. “I know everybody does for these restrictor plate tracks. To be able to get the results like that and they have been doing it all year long on these tracks. That is just a complete credit to all the details that come from the top down. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) he really does a phenomenal job at every track, but especially these tracks with these cars. Hendrick engines, Hendrick chassis, everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, 1, 2, 3 and 5 that is an awesome day for Hendrick Motorsports.”

On top of Gordon’s pole, the other three drivers of the Hendrick Motorsports’ stable showed strong results on Saturday, as well. Kasey Kahne will start alongside of Gordon in second. Kahne has 13 top-10 starts so far this season. Starting third is two-time Talladega winner, Jimmie Johnson. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who’s always a race favorite at the superspeedway, will roll off in fifth. With all four teams starting within the top-five, expect the Hendrick Motorsports drivers to hook up in the draft early in Sunday’s race.

“There are times when if you do make one little mistake and you’re in the wrong spot, you can get pushed back a long ways pretty quickly, and then you have to figure out how to work your way back up,” Kahne said. “That’s the hard part these days at Talladega. If you don’t get up there early enough, it’s hard to get up there. Just being prepared for that and just keeping your car in the right places on the race track and have a fast enough car at the same time; and I think all the Hendrick cars are.”

Matt Kenseth was the only non-Hendrick Motorsports driver in the top-five. He’ll start fourth on Sunday. Rounding out the top-10, is Trevor Bayne, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano, who is looking to sweep the Contender Round.

Throughout the afternoon, a few bizarre events took place at the superspeedway. The first, came when Martin Truex Jr.’s qualifying time was disallowed because he dove below the double yellow line on the frontstretch.

“Well the last couple of times we have been here we have run on the apron through the tri-oval,” Truex Jr. said. “Apparently there was a memo sent out and I never got it. I don’t really know what to say.”

Luckily for Truex Jr. and the Furniture Row Racing team, starting positions at Talladega Superspeedway aren’t all that important, besides pit box locations. Following the penalty, Truex Jr. said the team’s strategy for Sunday’s race wouldn’t change, despite having to start in 43rd. Truex Jr. currently holds the eighth and final transfer spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

The second event happened on pit road when Clint Bowyer backed into Just Allgaier. Bowyer thought he was in a forward-moving gear, but when he took off, he was in reverse. His qualifying effort placed him 29th on the speed chart, and as for Allgaier, the frontend damage hindered his efforts. Allgaier will start Sunday’s race in the 39th position.

Coverage for the 500 will broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 2 p.m. ET, Sunday afternoon. 500 Starting Lineup:

1.) #24 Jeff Gordon

2.) #5 Kasey Kahne

3.) #48 Jimmie Johnson

4.) #20 Matt Kenseth

5.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.

6.) #6 Trevor Bayne

7.) #4 Kevin Harvick

8.) #11 Denny Hamlin

9.) #21 Ryan Blaney

10.) #22 Joey Logano

11.) #2 Brad Keselowski

12.) #14 Tony Stewart

13.) #27 Paul Menard

14.) #41 Kurt Busch

15.) #19 Carl Edwards

16.) #18 Kyle Busch

17.) #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

18.) #31 Ryan Newman

19.) #16 Greg Biffle

20.) #10 Danica Patrick

21.) #9 Sam Hornish Jr.

22.) #55 David Ragan

23.) #42 Kyle Larson

24.) #1 Jamie McMurray

25.) #43 Aric Almirola

26.) #3 Austin Dillon

27.) #95 Michael McDowell

28.) #13 Casey Mears

29.) #15 Clint Bowyer

30.) #26 JJ Yeley

31.) #47 AJ Allmendinger

32.) #62 Timmy Hill

33.) #98 Michael Waltrip

34.) #35 Cole Whitt

35.) #32 Bobby Labonte

36.) #83 Matt DiBenedetto

37.) #7 Alex Bowman

38.) #38 David Gilliland

39.) #51 Justin Allgaier

40.) #34 Josh Wise

41.) #40 Landon Cassill

42.) #33 Travis Kvapil

43.) #78 Martin Truex Jr.

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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