Jeff Gordon went out last in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday night and turned in a lap time of 27.791 seconds, good enough to claim the pole starting spot for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at the track.
“Man, that was awesome,” Gordon said. “It’s been awhile since we’ve had a pole here at Charlotte, as well as doing it in that fashion.”
Gordon will be joined on the front row Saturday night by Kevin Harvick, who qualified second with a lap time of 27.806 seconds.
“We knew we needed to qualify better in the Chase,” Harvick said. “And they’re (his No. 29 team) bringing the cars to do that.”
Kasey Kahne went out second of 43 cars and turned in a lap time that kept him on the provisional pole through most of the qualifying session. Kahne’s No. 5 was atop the scoring pylon until Greg Biffle went out 38th and posted a new fastest lap. Biffle’s time at the top was short-lived, though, as Harvick went out 42nd and bettered Biffle’s lap. Harvick’s time on the provisional pole was even shorter, as Gordon went out right after and claimed the official pole.
“The way the draw went, there were a lot of fast cars going out late,” Gordon said.
In the end, Biffle wound up third, and Kahne fifth. Jimmie Johnson qualified fourth. Gordon, Johnson and Kahne were joined in the top-10 by their Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the top-10, as Earnhardt qualified sixth.
Ryan Newman qualified seventh, and Juan Pablo Montoya was the only non-Chase for the Sprint Cup driver to qualify in the top-10, qualifying eighth. Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-10.
Three drivers are slated to make their Sprint Cup Series debuts on Saturday night — Kyle Larson, Brian Scott and Blake Koch. Scott was the only one of the three to qualify in the top-20, qualifying 19th. Larson wound up just outside the top-20 in 21st and Koch was 43rd.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR