Jeff Gordon claimed his second-straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole on Friday, turning in a 34.857-second/206.558 mph lap in the third and final round of qualifying at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400. His pole-winning lap also set a new track qualifying record at MIS and was made with the seventh-fastest pole-winning speed, overall, in NASCAR history. Gordon also won the pole a week ago at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
“I knew that we were really strong here the last time we were here, and what our team is doing rightm now, it’s just phenomenal how they continue to improve race cars and just the whole effort,” Gordon said. “I’m just so proud of them. You don’t go around this place like that that fast without a really good race car.”
The fastest three drivers posted laps at speeds over 206 mph in the final round. Joey Logano was second-fastest, and therefore, will start on the front row next to Gordon. Carl Edwards qualified third.
“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 up, don’t get me wrong. It takes a lot of effort to do that, but we only have one pole; that is frustration. That means that is a lot of second-place starting positions. We were close again and just weren’t able to do it.”
Gordon was also fastest in round two with a lap time of 34.971 seconds (205.885 mph), while Kevin Harvick and Logano posted the second and third-fastest laps in the second round. Edwards had the fastest lap in the opening round with a time of 35.093 (205.169 mph), followed by Logano and Brian Vickers.
Vickers qualified fourth, and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five in round three. Also advancing to the third round and claiming spots five through 12 on the starting grid for Sunday’s race were Harvick, Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman.
Forty-three cars, the same number needed for a full race field, made qualifying attempts in round one, so all who attempted to qualify have a starting spot for the race. Jeff Burton, filling in for Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, qualified 27th.