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Gordon’s Good Lap Wins Pole In Las Vegas

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, March 7 2015

Jeff Gordon and crew chief Alan Gustafson found what they were looking for on Friday in Las Vegas. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Rusty Jarrett)

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Jeff Gordon won the pole for Sunday’s Kobalt 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday. The pole was his first at Vegas and came on what perhaps may be his last race at the 1.5-mile track.

Gordon won the pole with a track-record lap at 194.679 mph.

Joey Logano (194.315 mph) was second.

“Oh, boy, this is good!” Gordon said after setting the record. “That was a damn good lap.”

The pole was Gordon’s second of the season and the 79th of his career. It came a week after he failed to make a qualifying attempt at Atlanta Motor Speedway because of problems in the inspection line.

“Well, I didn’t come off the throttle much, if any—I know I had to blip it just the tiniest, tiniest bit,” Gordon said of his pole-winning lap. “The lap before, in the second session, I was a little conservative and the car just stuck so good, I thought when I heard some of the lap times that were up there (in the third round), I knew (I had to) be fully committed and just go for it.

“So I drove it down into (Turn) 1. I may have come off of it just a tiny bit, but it wasn’t much at all. And it stuck so good, I was like, ‘Okay, do I run wide open through (Turns) 3 and 4?’ I don’t know. It was real close. There was a lot of wide-open throttle there. It was fun. What a turnaround from last week. I’m just so proud of this team and keeping their heads up. Last week was a tough one, and this is a great, great way to start out weekend here in Las Vegas…

“I can’t believe I won my first pole in Las Vegas in my final race here.”

For Logano, Friday’s time trials represented more of the same – he’s been fast since the first minutes of Speedweeks.

“Obviously,” Logano, who won the season-opening Daytona 500, said, “we have been able to keep the speed here for the last couple of weeks. Being able to get the pole in Atlanta and another front row start here today. We were so close, just missed it a little bit.

“The track was cooling off throughout qualifying and we were getting faster each run. As a driver and a team you need to be able to adjust the car for what you are going to need with those faster speeds. We got really close. I was definitely not lifting much out there. Jeff definitely picked it up and had a really good lap there and we weren’t able to beat that one. We will have a good starting spot and a good pit stall and we will be able to hopefully lead some laps and hopefully win the race. We got the pole here last year and didn’t win so maybe this is a good thing. Who knows?”

Kasey Kahne (194.287 mph) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (194.091 mph), qualified third and fourth, respectively. Kyle Larson (193.959 mph) grabbed the fifth spot on the grid.

Reigning series champion Kevin Harvick will start 18th, having failed to make the final 12 at a 1.5-mile intermediate speedway for the first time since last year’s Las Vegas race.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying – Kobalt 400

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada

Friday, March 06, 2015

1. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 194.679 mph.

2. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 194.315 mph.

3. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 194.287 mph.

4. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 194.091 mph.

5. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 193.959 mph.

6. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 193.632 mph.

7. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 193.507 mph.

8. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 193.389 mph.

9. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 193.334 mph.

10. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 193.112 mph.

11. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 192.555 mph.

12. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 192.287 mph.

13. (18) David Ragan, Toyota, 192.685 mph.

14. (19) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 192.527 mph.

15. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 192.472 mph.

16. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 192.424 mph.

17. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 192.294 mph.

18. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 192.280 mph.

19. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 191.782 mph.

20. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 191.768 mph.

21. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 191.523 mph.

22. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 191.340 mph.

23. (33) Brian Scott(i), Chevrolet, 190.564 mph.

24. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 189.994 mph.

25. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 190.355 mph.

26. (51) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 189.967 mph.

27. (7) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 189.947 mph.

28. (55) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 189.820 mph.

29. (9) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, 189.727 mph.

30. (21) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 189.447 mph.

31. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 189.354 mph.

32. (95) Michael McDowell, Ford, 189.314 mph.

33. (46) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 189.228 mph.

34. (41) Regan Smith(i), Chevrolet, 189.215 mph.

35. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 189.003 mph.

36. (34) Brett Moffitt, Ford, 188.488 mph.

37. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, Owner Points

38. (35) Cole Whitt, Ford, Owner Points

39. (98) Josh Wise, Ford, Owner Points

40. (23) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, Owner Points

41. (26) Jeb Burton #, Toyota, Owner Points

42. (40) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, Owner Points

43. (62) Brendan Gaughan(i), Chevrolet, Owner Points

5 drivers failed to qualify.

44. (32) Mike Bliss(i), Ford, 185.618 mph.

45. (29) Reed Sorenson, Toyota, 184.925 mph.

46. (44) Travis Kvapil(i), Chevrolet, 184.634 mph.

47. (66) Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, 181.245 mph.

48. (83) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 180.668 mph.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, March 7 2015
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