Jeff Gordon was the last car to attempt a qualifying lap Thursday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but he will be the first car to take the green on Saturday night. Gordon turns a lap of 194.308 mph to edge out Richard Childress Racing driver, Kevin Harvick.
This pole was the 74th of Gordon’s career and his ninth at Charlotte in 42 starts. Gordon’s nine poles at Charlotte include a string of five straight in spring races between 1994 and 1998.
Gordon talked about his qualifying effort saying, “I felt confident all day in the car, it just had good grip, it was doing the things I wanted it to do and to then go out there and the pressure is on you after the car ahead of you sits on the pole and your battling those guys for the championship and to out there and step it up and get the pole is real exciting.”
Harvick, who won last week’s race at Kansas, seems to now be making a charge for the championship. Harvick commented on his lap and made comparisons to last week after the session saying, “I think for us, you know we have the same four springs we had in the car last week, same car, but you had a lot less circumstances to deal with mainly with a better tire.”
Roush-Fenway Racing driver, Greg Biffle, will start third Saturday. Biffle turned a lap of 193.959 mph and pointed out, “This racetrack has got a ton of grip, and so I got all I could in turn one and two, similar to like what Kevin (Harvick) said, it had so much grip down there it kind of sucked me into three and four thinking that it was going to be as good as one and two, and I drove it down in there and it went straight to the bottom and I’m like oh I got this and I went to the gas and it started you know, slipping the nose up the racetrack…”
Gordon’s teammates, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne will start fourth and fifth respectively. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will be making his 500th career start this weekend, will roll off sixth on Saturday night giving Hendrick Motorsports four of the top six starting spots.
Ryan Newman, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch round out the top-10. Nine out the top-10 cars are in the Chase. Brian Scott and Kyle Larson, who are making their Sprint Cup Series debut this weekend, will start 19th and 21st respectively. Larson will be piloting the No. 51 Target Chevrolet with Scott driving the No. 33, Shore Lodge Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.
The green flag will fall on the Bank of America 500 at 7:30 local time on Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.