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Gordon secures Dover pole

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."

Qualifying results:

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  -

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