Jeff Gordon set a track qualifying record Friday in winning the pole position for Sunday’s NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway.
Gordon turned a lap of 206.558 mph in his No. 24 Chevrolet, breaking the qualifying record at the two-mile oval set in June by Kevin Harvick, when he ran 204.557 mph.
“I wasn’t sure what I was going to have when we rolled off,” Gordon said. But after realizing the car’s capability, “I was able to be aggressive,” he said.
Joey Logano qualified second in a Ford at 206.381 mph, Carl Edwards was third in another Ford at 206.115 mph and Brian Vickers will start fourth in a Toyota at 205.685 mph.
“It’s a lot of fun having that much speed out there,” Logano said.
NASCAR this year implemented a knockout style of qualifying, with the 24 fastest cars in the first round advancing to the second round, and the fastest 12 drivers in the second round reaching the five-minute final round that determined the pole winner.
Two of the pre-race favorites, teammates Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. of Hendrick Motorsports, failed to get past the first round.
Johnson, who won the spring race at Michigan in June, qualified 30th. And Earnhardt, a winner at Michigan in 2008 and 2012, qualified 25th.
Jeff Burton, who is filling in for Tony Stewart this weekend in Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet, qualified 27th.
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