Gordon Drives to 55

September 23rd, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Gordon Drives to 55


Starting Lineup | Qualifying Results

With a fast lap of 156.162 mph, Jeff Gordon secured the pole for Sunday's Dover 400 at Dover International Speedway. It is his 55th career pole, and first in 47 races.

By capturing the Bud Pole for this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event, the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet is now tied with Bill Elliott for sixth all time in poles won.

"When it goes by for a while you feel like you've lost that magic touch or that combination that it took to get on poles and the competition elevates itself up as well so it feels great," said Gordon, who has now won a pole in 14 consecutive seasons. "I can name a long list of reasons why it's so special right now and probably even more special now than any time this season. Obviously with the Chase, having momentum is good. This is a tricky pit road. that's obviously good. DuPont being up in Wilmington. There's a lot of reasons and this is a great way to start our weekend. Hopefully we keep it going."

In the process, Gordon just edged out Scott Riggs for the top spot as the driver of the No. 10 Valvoline Dodge had a best lap of 156.060 mph.

"I'll be honest, I wasn't sure (I got the pole)," said Gordon. "I got into turn one too aggressive and the back end wiggled a little bit on me and I was able to get in the gas really early and the car was just a little bit loose. But it was just carrying a lot of momentum. As soon as I crossed the line I knew I couldn't make a second lap; I didn't have enough air in my lungs because I can only hold my breath for that long. I came on the radio right away and told my guys 'I don't know, I think it's going to be really, really close and obviously it was extremely close."

Unfortunately for Riggs, he will not start the Dover 400 on the outside pole as a result of an expected engine change after qualifying.

"I made a mistake there and missed a shift coming through the gears, so we’ll probably have to change engines anyway. Starting second would sound good to us, but we’ll get a good pit selection and we’ll have to work our way from the back to the front now," said Riggs.

"That was me not paying attention enough to make sure we get through the gears smooth. I was concentrating on making my lap instead of thinking about getting up to speed first. That’s just the mistake I made."

Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Joe Nemechek round out the top five qualifying positions for Sunday’s race.

Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin and Kurt Busch complete the top 10.

"Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup" contenders further back in the field include Dale Earnhardt Jr. (13th), Jimmie Johnson (18th), Jeff Burton (19th), Kasey Kahne (21st), Denny Hamlin (23rd), championship points leader Kevin Harvick (25th) and Kyle Busch (27th).

Of note, rookie driver David Ragan qualified for his first NEXTEL Cup event today with a fast lap of 151.604 mph. He will start his first race from the 37th position.

Morgan Shepherd, Kenny Wallace, Chad Blount, and Donnie Neuenburger failed to qualify for this weekend’s event.

Only one accident took place in qualifying as J.J. Yeley hit the wall between Turns 1 and 2 during his run. He will switch to a backup car and start from the rear of the field in Sunday’s event.

"Oh, I just really wish I knew what happened to the Interstate Batteries Chevrolet. It was really awesome in practice. It felt pretty solid there coming up to get the green. And just as I came off of Turn 1, the car got loose really early in the entry there and caught me by surprise," said Yeley. "I tried to save it, but didn't unfortunately. A very good race car is wrecked but hopefully the back-up is just as good."

Sunday’s Dover 400 at Dover International Speedway is scheduled to take the green flag at 1:00 p.m. (ET) with live coverage available on TNT (TV) and MRN Radio.

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