Gordon Lightning Fast at Michigan
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on August 15, 2014 | 5:35 P.M. EST
It was the 17th track record set in 2014 and Gordon scored his second straight pole after taking the top spot at Watkins Glen last week. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
BROOKLYN, Mich. - Jeff Gordon turned a lap of 206.558 mph to set a new Michigan International Speedway track record in qualifying for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400.
Gordon shattered the previous track record set by Kevin Harvick in June of 204.557 mph. It was the 17th track record set in 2014 and Gordon scored his second straight pole after taking the top spot at Watkins Glen last week.
“I knew that we were really strong here the last time we were here and what our team is doing right now it’s just phenomenal how they continue to improve race cars and just the whole effort,” said Gordon. “I’m just so proud of them. You don’t go around this place like that, that fast without a really good race car.
“I’m so excited about the way our race team is performing right now.”
Gordon’s lap was the seventh fastest pole-winning speed in NASCAR history.
Joey Logano will start second on Sunday after notching his 18th top-10 start of 2014.
“We were able to get faster as the session went on which is just an awesome job by this team to give me cars like this every week that are so good and so fun to drive,” said Logano.
“That is our seventh front row start this year, which we are very proud of don’t get me wrong. It takes a lot of effort to do that but we only have one pole. That is frustrating. That means that is a lot of second place starting positions. We were close again and just weren’t able to do it.”
Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.
“We’ve had speed in the car all weekend so far and it’s just great to see all the hard work by this team pay off,” said Edwards.
Harvick, Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. completed the first ten qualifiers.
Several top drivers will start Sunday’s race from deep in the field including Jimmie Johnson, who could only muster the 30th fastest speed of the session.
“We’ve just had a vibration with our car; really a shake, a violent shake through the corner,” said Johnson, who has finished 28th or worst in four of his last five starts. “And we’ve been trying to get to the bottom of it. We made it better, and it certainly went faster, but just not enough. We’ll go back to the drawing board and dig-in deeper and see what’s going on.”
Jeff Burton, subbing for Tony Stewart, will start 27th on Sunday.
“I think tomorrow will be a whole other ball game where we can run and I can get a rhythm and I can give them a lot better information,” said Burton. “Today we had a problem and we didn’t get as many laps as I wanted. I feel good about where we are and I think my car is really good in (Turns) 3 and 4. And I think I’ve just got to get my head straight and right where I want to.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 25th and Denny Hamlin 24th.
“We’re actually pretty happy with the car in qualifying trim; it was just a little bit disappointing and we’ll just deal with it from there,” said Earnhardt Jr.
Thirty two of the 43 drivers that participated in the practice were over 200 mph.
Sprint Cup Series teams will two practices on Saturday to dial in cars for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.