Gordon tops Harvick for Charlotte pole
Concord, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Jeff Gordon grabbed the pole for the Bank of America 500 after topping Kevin Harvick in Thursday night's qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Gordon, who was the driver to qualify in the 43-car field, turned a lap at 194.308 mph for his second pole of the season and the 74th of his Sprint Cup Series career. The Hendrick Motorsports driver is currently fourth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship standings. He is 32 points behind Matt Kenseth, who qualified 20th. Gordon has yet to win a race this season.
It was the ninth pole for Gordon at Charlotte, which moved him into a tie with Ryan Newman for second most poles here. David Pearson holds the record with 14 at this track.
"That is awesome," Gordon said. "It's been a while since we've done a pole here at Charlotte as well as doing it in that kind of fashion. The way that the draw was today, there were a lot of fast cars going late in qualifying. But when you didn't see the lap times picking up as much as we thought they were going to, I didn't know if that late draw would really be a big factor."
Gordon's first career pole in the series came at Charlotte on Oct. 10, 1993, which made him the youngest pole winner at this track. He was 22 years, 2 months and 6 days old at the time.
Harvick was the second-to-last driver to qualify. He posted a lap at 194.203 mph, which was 0.015 seconds behind Gordon's lap.
"I felt like I didn't get everything in (turns) 3 and 4," Harvick. "I knew from the way things were going and the way practice was that I needed to get everything I could in 1 and 2, and not get tight coming off of turn 4. And I probably lost the pole right there."
Last Friday at Kansas, Harvick ended a 254-race pole drought in NASCAR's top series. He survived a season-high 15 cautions and held off Kurt Busch and Gordon in the closing laps for his third win of the season.
"We would've really liked to have the pole tonight, but everybody knows how we've qualified in past, and to be on the front row is going to be an amazing benefit for us," Harvick said.
Greg Biffle qualified third, while Gordon's teammate, Jimmie Johnson, took the fourth spot. Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were fifth and sixth, respectively, giving Hendrick four of the top-six starting spots.
Earnhardt, who turned 39 years old on Thursday, is expected to make his 500th career start in the series on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET).
Johnson, a six-time race winner at Charlotte, is presently three points behind Kenseth.
Newman placed seventh, followed by Juan Pablo Montoya and brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch. The top-10 finishers in qualifying are in the Chase, with the exception of Montoya.
The remaining Chase drivers and their starting positions include: Joey Logano (12th), Clint Bowyer (14th) and Carl Edwards (15th).
10/10 21:33:34 ET