Viva Las Vegas: Jeff Gordon wins 2nd pole of season, 3rd in last 4 starts

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Jeff Gordon won his second pole of the season during Sprint Cup qualifying Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Gordon, who led from the pole in the season-opening Daytona 500, covered the 1.5-mile track with a best lap and new track record of 194.679 mph.

“I didn’t come off the throttle much, if any,” Gordon said afterward. “I know I had to blip it just the tiniest, tiniest bit.

“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, I knew that we were going to go get the pole. You’ve got to be fully committed and just go for it.”

It was Gordon’s third pole in his last four races (dating back to the 2014 season finale at Homestead). It was also his first career pole at LVMS.

It was a significant difference from last week’s qualifying session at Atlanta, when Gordon was one of 13 drivers who failed to get on track due to delays in getting through inspection.

“What a turnaround from last week,” Gordon said. “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.”

Gordon is hoping for a different end result than what he has in the first two races, being involved in late-race wrecks at both Daytona and Atlanta that cost him at least one and possibly two top-10 finishes.

Gordon was one of three Hendrick Motorsports drivers in the top four positions, and all four drivers qualified in the top nine.

Joey Logano will sit on the outside pole with a speed of 194.315 mph.

Also over 194 mph and sharing Row 2 in Sunday’s race will be Kasey Kahne (194.287) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (194.091).

Five drivers failed to qualify, including Travis Kvapil, whose race car was stolen last weekend in Atlanta, only to be recovered more than 24 hours later.

Here’s Friday’s qualifying results:

1. Jeff Gordon … 194.679 mph
2. Joey Logano … 194.315
3. Kasey Kahne … 194.287
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. … 194.091
5. Kyle Larson … 193.959

6. Matt Kenseth … 193.632
7. Ryan Newman … 193.507
8. Martin Truex Jr. … 193.389
9. Jimmie Johnson … 193.334
10. Jamie McMurray … 193.112

11. Brad Keselowski … 192.555
12. Tony Stewart 192.287
13. David Ragan … 192.685
14. Carl Edwards … 192.527
15. Aric Almirola … 192.472

16. Greg Biffle … 192.424
17. Casey Mears … 192.294
18. Kevin Harvick … 192.280
19. Denny Hamlin … 191.782
20. Clint Bowyer … 191.768

21. Danica Patrick … 191.523
22. AJ Allmendinger … 191.340
23. Brian Scott … 190.564
24. Paul Menard … 189.994
25. Austin Dillon … 190.355

26. Justin Allgaier … 189.967
27. Alex Bowman … 189.947
28. Brian Vickers … 189.820
29. Sam Hornish Jr. … 189.727
30. Ryan Blaney … 189.447

31. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. … 189.354
32. Michael McDowell … 189.314
33. Michael Annett … 189.228
34. Regan Smith … 189.215
35. Trevor Bayne … 189.003

36. Brett Moffitt … 188.488
37. David Gilliland (owner points) … 187.078
38. Cole Whitt (owner points) … 186.541
39. Josh Wise (owner points) … 186.400
40. JJ Yeley (owner points) … 186.156

41. Jeb Burton (owner points) … 185.720
42. Landon Cassill (owner points) … 183.418
43. Brendan Gaughan (owner points) … 182.939

DID NOT QUALIFY:

1. Mike Bliss … 185.618
2. Reed Sorenson … 184.925
3. Travis Kvapil … 184.634
4. Mike Wallace … 181.245
5. Matt Dibenedetto … 180.668

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