Gordon secures Dover pole
|By Matt Beer||Friday, September 22nd 2006, 20:50 GMT|
Jeff Gordon has beaten Scott Riggs to pole position for the Dover 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race.
Riggs' early benchmark time stood for the majority of the session, as several of the championship contenders struggled for speed.
It wasn't until Gordon - the 41st driver to qualify - took to the track that Riggs was deposed.
The pole was the 55th of Gordon's Cup career, but his first of 2006.
"We've been searching for one all year long and that's a great lap," he said.
"I'm just so proud of the crew, they're doing an awesome job.
"We got the Chase started off right with a good finish and a good qualifying effort last week and already this is a great way to get this weekend started.
"This race team has been inching that much closer to getting our first pole of the season, and I can't think of a better time than here at Dover. It's a great place to start up front and we'll try and make the most of it."
Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman fill the second row, ahead of Joe Nemechek, another surprise performer.
While drivers like Riggs, Newman and 11th placed Kevin Lepage all starred in Dover qualifying despite languishing way down in the standings, championship leader Kevin Harvick could only manage 25th. His nearest title rival Denny Hamlin was just two places higher up.
Both are in better shape than J.J. Yeley, who made heavy contact with the Turn 1 wall on his qualifying lap.
"I wish I knew what happened there," said Yeley. "It felt pretty solid coming up to get the green, but as I went into (Turn) 1 the car got really loose on entry and caught me by surprise.
"I got on the brakes to try and save it, but didn't, unfortunately. So a very good race car is now wrecked and hopefully the back-up is just as good."
Pos Driver Make Speed 1. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 156.162 2. Scott Riggs Dodge 156.060 3. Matt Kenseth Ford 155.986 4. Ryan Newman Dodge 155.871 5. Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 155.454 6. Carl Edwards Ford 155.367 7. Reed Sorenson Dodge 155.346 8. Greg Biffle Ford 155.253 9. Mark Martin Ford 155.092 10. Kurt Busch Dodge 155.025 11. Kevin Lepage Dodge 154.939 12. Sterling Marlin Chevrolet 154.732 13. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 154.646 14. Robby Gordon Chevrolet 154.533 15. Brian Vickers Chevrolet 154.493 16. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 154.414 17. Kyle Petty Dodge 154.328 18. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 154.314 19. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 154.301 20. David Stremme Dodge 154.281 21. Kasey Kahne Dodge 154.242 22. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 154.063 23. Denny Hamlin Chevrolet 154.057 24. Casey Mears Dodge 154.050 25. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 153.978 26. Bobby Labonte Dodge 153.945 27. Kyle Busch Chevrolet 153.590 28. Jeff Green Chevrolet 153.499 29. Michael Waltrip Dodge 153.407 30. Travis Kvapil Chevrolet 153.211 31. Derrike Cope Dodge 153.094 32. Jamie McMurray Ford 153.035 33. Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet 152.860 34. Dale Jarrett Ford 152.672 35. Elliott Sadler Dodge 152.213 36. Ken Schrader Ford 152.130 37. David Ragan Ford 151.605 38. Dave Blaney Dodge 151.592 39. David Gilliland Ford 151.541 40. Stanton Barrett Dodge 151.528 41. Scott Wimmer Chevrolet 151.483 42. Morgan Shepherd Dodge 150.988 43. Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 150.804 44. Tony Raines Chevrolet 150.401 45. Chad Blount Chevrolet 147.844 46. Donnie Neuenberger Dodge 143.438 47. J.J. Yeley Chevrolet -