Following up last week, Jeff Gordon won his second pole of the season and his second in a row with blistering lap at the 2 mile Michigan International Speedway Friday. The lap of 34.857 seconds, 206.558 mph bested the previous record of 204.557 mph set by Kevin Harvick this past June.
“I don’t know how to make it much better than that,” Gordon said. “Our first qualifying effort today, and practice, was not good. I’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, and third session, the car was just near perfect.”
Joey Logano held the top spot first during the final session with a lap of 206.381, until Gordon’s lap relegated him to second.
“Close but didn’t quite make it. Once again ,” Logano said. That is our seventh front row start this year, which we are very proud of don’t get me wrong. It takes a lot of effort to do that but we only have one pole. That is frustrating. That means that is a lot of second place starting positions. We were close again and just weren’t able to do it.”
Carl Edwards led the first of three sessions but out down a lap good enough for third starting spot.
“It is fast. That is the simplest way to describe it. It is fast,” Edwards said. “I wish you guys could ride in that car with me. That is screamin’. If I had to do over again I think I could do better but I am sure everyone could say that. There is so much speed out there you have to do everything perfectly. We almost did. I thought we had a shot at the pole there – we did have a shot at the pole.”
Gordon was sixth in the first session but led the second and third to secure his 76th pole in 748 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Gordon, who is now third on the all-time series poles list, said there was no big secret to his pole winning effort.
“A really fast race car,” he said. “I mean, it’s a team effort. You’ve got to give your input. Those guys are just really smart and making great decisions. We’re trying to catch these Penske guys and the Stewart-Haas guys in qualifying on these big, fast ovals like this. We obviously made some improvements. This is a really good race car. This is our Brickyard 400 car, so it’s a fast one. And let’s hope we can keep it going fast all day on Sunday.”
Jimmie Johnson, who won here in June, struggled the entire day. He wasn’t able put down a lap good enough to make it out of the first round; he will start 30th Sunday.
“We’ve just had a vibration with our car; really a shake, a violent shake through the corner,” Johnson said. “And we’ve been trying to get to the bottom of it. We made it better, and it certainly went faster, but just not enough. We’ll go back to the drawing board and dig-in deeper and see what’s going on.”
Other notables: Jeff Burton driving in relief of Tony Stewart, qualified 27th, June’s record breaker Kevin Harvick will roll of 6th. With 43 cars entered, no one was sent home. The full lineup can be found here, qualifying results here. Coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Pure Michigan 400 will be on ESPN at 1:00 p.m. Sunday.