BROOKLYN, Mich. – Speed was the name of the game Friday afternoon at Michigan Int’l Speedway and it was Jeff Gordon who had more speed than anyone.
Gordon put together a stunning 34.857-second lap at 206.558 mph to earn the pole for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400, destroying the track record at the two-mile oval set in June by Kevin Harvick. It is the seventh fastest pole speed in the history of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“I don’t know how to make it much better than that, not from my standpoint,” said Gordon, who also won the pole last weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) Int’l. “Our first qualifying effort today in practice was not good. We’ve been hearing a lot about tire chatter and we had it big time. The next run out we made some adjustments and it was better.
“That whole qualifying session from the first one, second one, third session the car was near perfect. The first time I didn’t drive it hard enough, the second time I finally did,” Gordon said. “We’re having a lot of fun right now.”
Joey Logano earned yet another front row start by qualifying second, the seventh time he has earned a front row starting spot this season. He was followed by Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers and Brad Keselowski. Harvick qualified sixth, followed by Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman completed the fast 12.
Gordon was also fastest in the second round of qualifying, topping the charts with his 34.971-second lap at 205.885 mph. Harvick was second followed by Logano, Edwards and Vickers. Among those missing out on the final session of qualifying were Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.
Edwards had the fastest lap in the first session of qualifying with a 35.093-second lap at 205.169 mph. Logano, Vickers, Stenhouse and Kurt Busch followed.
Among those failing to advance past the first round of qualifying where Dale Earnhardt Jr., June Michigan race winner Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Burton. Burton is driving the No. 14 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet in place of Tony Stewart, who is skipping his second consecutive race following an incident last Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park that resulted in the death of Kevin Ward Jr.
Only 43 cars were on hand to qualify for the Pure Michigan 400, meaning they will all race on Sunday.