Jeff Gordon swept to the pole Friday for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400, and he did so in record-breaking style.
Gordon’s lap of 206.558 mph at Michigan International Speedway broke a track record set in June by Kevin Harvick (204.557), and he wasn’t alone.
The top seven qualifiers all finished faster than Harvick’s lap in June: Gordon, Joey Logano (206.381), Carl Edwards (206.115), Brian Vickers (205.685), Brad Keselowski (205.644), Harvick (205.438) and Paul Menard (205.204.580). Gordon’s, however, was the seventh-fastest qualifying lap in NASCAR history.
It is Gordon’s second consecutive pole. He also qualified first last week at Watkins Glen, which came two weeks after winning the race at Indianapolis.
“This track is smooth since it was repaved (in 2012), and there is a tremendous amount of surface where the car can get a grip,” said Gordon. “It’s a testament to what teams did in NASCAR in the offseason. We’re always trying to find more horsepower.”
Said Edwards: “It’s fast, is the simplest way to describe it. It was screaming.”
• Ryan Blaney takes NASCAR’s Truck Series points lead into Saturday’s Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan. Forgive Blaney, however, if he’s had other things on his mind.
Wood Brothers Racing announced this week that Blaney, 20, will drive a limited Sprint Cup schedule in 2015. He will replace Trevor Bayne, who is departing for Roush Fenway Racing, in the Woods’ iconic No. 21 Ford for 20 races next season.
“The history of this team is very special and being able to drive for (the Woods) is very special and a dream come true,” said Blaney.
With Bayne competing in Saturday’s Nationwide race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Blaney qualified the Woods’ car for Sunday’s Cup race.
“I have never been to Michigan before in a Cup car,” said Blaney. “I have run ARCA and Truck here, but they are so different.”
Blaney leads Johnny Sauter by seven points heading into Saturday’s Truck race, which begins at 12:30 p.m. after qualifying at 9:40 a.m.
“Ryan was our choice really from Day One when Trevor announced he was leaving,” said Wood Brothers co-owner Eddie Wood.
• There was significant sponsor news earlier in the week, with 3M leaving Greg Biffle and Roush Racing for Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports. It will be the primary sponsor for 11 Cup races from 2015 through 2017.
• AJ Allmendinger said he’s been enjoying every minute since he won last week’s road-course race at Watkins Glen, his first Cup victory.
“I wanted to sleep in victory lane,” said Allmendinger. “I wanted to wake up with confetti stuck to my face. They said that wasn’t allowed.”
|10||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||204.174|
|25||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevy||202.885|
|37||37||Dave Blaney||Chevy||own. pts.|
|38||32||Travis Kvapil||Ford||own. pts.|
|39||78||Matt Crafton||Chevy||own. pts.|
|40||36||Reed Sorenson||Chevy||own. pts.|
|41||33||Alex Kennedy||Chevy||own. pts.|
|42||66||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||own. pts.|
|43||40||Landon Cassill||Chevy||own. pts.|