Tomorrow Comes For Gordon

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Jeff Gordon put his name in the record books Friday by becoming the first Bud Pole winner in the "Car of Tomorrow" era when he earned the top spot for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Gordon's DuPont Chevrolet turned a lap in 15.295 seconds for an average speed of 125.453 mph to win the pole. That was well off the record pace of 128.709 mph (14.908 sec.) set by Ryan Newman when he recorded the track qualifying record in 2003.

"We were here testing and I didn't think we'd run these kind of speeds," said Gordon, who won his fifth career Bristol Cup pole. "That's an impressive lap. The team made improvements all day long and since testing. They had to set it up pretty loose to get through the middle."

Gordon thinks getting the right set-up in race trim will be different than what he used to win the pole in qualifying.

"You're still going to have to run pretty loose," Gordon said. "These cars don't turn well in the middle like the older cars do. So I think there's going to have to be some kind of compromise on being loose on entry. We didn't play around with race setups at all and it paid off today."

Gordon's 58th career pole tied him with Bobby Allison for fifth place for all-time pole positions.

Kasey Kahne claimed the outside front-row starting spot in his Evernham Motorsports Dodge Dealers Avenger.

Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top five.

Jimmie Johnson, Dave Blaney, Scott Riggs, Jeff Green and Denny Hamlin completed the first ten qualifiers.

Three drivers with recent success at Bristol will have to come from deep in the field Sunday including Matt Kenseth (38th), Kevin Harvick (40th) and defending Food City 500 winner Kurt Busch (41st).

"I didn’t do a very good job," said Kenseth, who won last August's night race at Bristol. "I got through one and two really good the second lap and got too slow in the middle of three and four and couldn’t get through center and it made it too loose off. It was just a bad lap."

Toyota had a good day with five Camry drivers making the field including Dale Jarrett, Dave Blaney, Brian Vickers and both Jeremy Mayfield and A.J. Allmendingerfor the first time this year.

Unfortunately for Toyota, among the six drivers who failed to qualify for Sunday's race were Michael Waltrip, who will miss his fourth-straight event, and his teammate David Reutimann. Kevin Lepage, Johnny Sauter, Joe Nemechek and Paul Menard also missed the show.

Sunday's Food City 500 is slated for a 2 p.m. (ET) green flag.

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