Jeff Gordon earns Sprint Cup pole in Hendrick Motorsports onslaught at Talladega

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Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne led a Hendrick Motorsports onslaught during Saturday’s Sprint Cup qualifying for Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Gordon will take the field to the green flag in Sunday’s race, thanks to a top qualifying speed of 194.793 mph.

In his final season as an active Sprint Cup driver, Saturday marked Gordon’s second consecutive pole of 2015 on a restrictor plate track, having won the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500.

“We definitely have a fast Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet,” Gordon told FOX. “I think we’ve showed that all weekend long, but you don’t really know what you’ve got until you put it on the clock.

“I’m so proud of this pole because we got the pole in Daytona, but it was a totally different format. We knew the car was fast there. For this team to bring another car, a different car, here and all the hard work of the engine shop and what they do with the bodies, chassis and prep, a lot of hard work goes into this.

“That’s very awesome for Hendrick Motorsports to be on the front row. This was all them. I played a small role in Daytona, I played no role today, but it was fun.”

Gordon, who was more than .3 seconds quicker than Kahne’s effort, is seeking his 13th career restrictor plate win; he leads all active drivers with six wins at Talladega.

Fellow Sprint Cup driver Greg Biffle told FOX about Gordon’s run in the new single-qualifying format: “What I cannot get over is how fast Jeff Gordon’s car is. It’s been a long time since we’ve done single-car qualifying and a car that was .3 of a second faster than the whole field, not just second, but from second to 20th, to see Jeff’s car that fast.”

HMS drivers made up four of the top five cars in the qualifying results with Kahne second-fastest at 193.685 mph, his best qualifying effort this season, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. (4th at 193.599 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (5th at 193.427 mph) rounding out the top five.

“The Hendrick cars are really strong and the engines are running great,” Kahne said. “I told Jeff that coming to the front row, I knew I wouldn’t beat him because he’s really quick, but I knew we could get up to second. I was real happy with that. It’s a good starting spot. Hopefully tomorrow we stay out of trouble, we’re there at the end and we have a shot.”

Rookie Ryan Blaney was the only non-HMS driver in the top five, qualifying third at 193.611 mph.

Here’s how Sprint Cup qualifying played out:

1 Jeff Gordon … 194.793 mph

2 Kasey Kahne … 193.685

3 Ryan Blaney … 193.611

4 Dale Earnhardt Jr. … 193.599

5 Jimmie Johnson … 193.427

6 Tony Stewart … 193.419

7 Paul Menard … 193.412

8 Matt Kenseth … 193.357

9 David Ragan … 193.006

10 Clint Bowyer … 192.808

11 Casey Mears … 192.703

12 Sam Hornish Jr. … 192.343

13 Kyle Larson … 192.792

14 Austin Dillon … 192.789

15 Brad Keselowski … 192.777

16 Brian Scott … 192.765

17 Denny Hamlin … 192.738

18 Ryan Newman … 192.715

19 Kurt Busch … 192.680

20 Greg Biffle … 192.672

21 Joey Logano … 192.622

22 Carl Edwards … 192.587

23 Michael Waltrip … 192.181

24 Kevin Harvick … 192.050

25 Danica Patrick. … 191.835

26 Trevor Bayne … 191.727

27 Jamie McMurray … 191.627

28 Aric Almirola … 191.616

29 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. … 191.581

30 Landon Cassill … 191.497

31 AJ Allmendinger … 191.252

32 Bobby Labonte … 191.176

33 Brendan Gaughan … 191.016

34 Josh Wise … 190.757

35 Justin Allgaier … 190.738

36 Martin Truex Jr. … 190.715

37 Alex Bowman … Owner Points

38 Chris Buescher … Owner Points

39 David Gilliland … Owner Points

40 Michael Annett … Owner Points

41 Cole Whitt … Owner Points

42 JJ Yeley … Owner Points

43 Matt DiBenedetto … Owner Points

DID NOT QUALIFY: Michael McDowell, Jeb Burton

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