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Gordon Takes P1 At Charlotte

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, October 14 2010

Jeff Gordon earned his first pole of the season Thursday. (File photo courtesy of NASCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Concord, N.C. – Jeff Gordon said this week that, basically, he needs a victory real soon to have a shot at winning this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.

On Thursday evening, he took a step toward that victory by winning the pole for Saturday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Gordon, a four-time Cup champion, ran his fast lap at 191.544 mph.

“This is a little, small momentum and a boost of confidence,” Gordon said.

It was the first pole of the season for Gordon, who is fourth in points, 85 behind leader and Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson. It was his 69th career pole.

“This was huge and a huge shock,” Gordon said. “We just have not qualified well this year.”

He said he was shocked because his car was horrible during practice held before qualifying.

“We were going to be happy if we were in the top 15,” Gordon said. “I thought for sure a half dozen guys were going to beat us.”

Second in qualifying was Roush Fenway Racing’s Carl Edwards, who had a lap at 191.455 mph.

“We focused real hard on qualifying at it worked out,” Edwards said.

Qualifying has never been a strong suit for Edwards and his team and they were content to live with that – until recently. Now, it has assumed greater importance.

“I think we started (concentrating on qualifying) at the right time,” Edwards said. “We made the Chase and I feel like our qualifying is as good as it’s ever been right now. And this is when it needs to be good.”

Third was A.J. Allmendinger of Richard Petty Motorsports.

Fourth was Mark Martin and fifth was Paul Menard, also in a Petty Ford.

Johnson was 10th fastest. That, along with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s eighth-place qualifying run, put three Hendrick cars in the top 10.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, October 14 2010
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