Richmond NASCAR: Jeff Gordon takes pole for Chase-deciding race

Jeff Gordon boosted his hopes of squeezing into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase by claiming pole for the deciding race at Richmond

Richmond NASCAR: Jeff Gordon takes pole for Chase-deciding race

Hendrick driver Gordon is currently 11th in the standings, six points away from the top 10 and yet to win this year.

His late 20.674-second, 130.599mph lap deposed the driver he is chasing in the championship: Furniture Row's Kurt Busch.

Busch holds 10th in the points at present and will share the front row on Saturday night.

Reigning champion Brad Keselowski - who is now a Chase long-shot - qualified third for Penske with his first lap before a big slide on lap two ended his pole bid.

The Toyotas of Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin completed the top six.

Regan Smith was 10th-fastest in Jimmie Johnson's Hendrick Chevrolet, having stood in for the four-time champion for one day only due to the birth of Johnson's second child.

Johnson will be back to take part in the race, but will have to start from last.

Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 20.674s 2. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet 20.716s +0.042s 3. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford 20.744s +0.070s 4. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 20.766s +0.092s 5. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota 20.791s +0.117s 6. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota 20.793s +0.119s 7. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 20.819s +0.145s 8. Joey Logano Penske Ford 20.828s +0.154s 9. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 20.871s +0.197s 10. Regan Smith Hendrick Chevrolet 20.884s +0.210s 11. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 20.894s +0.220s 12. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 20.910s +0.236s 13. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota 20.911s +0.237s 14. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 20.919s +0.245s 15. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 20.921s +0.247s 16. Mark Martin Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 20.926s +0.252s 17. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 20.931s +0.257s 18. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 20.939s +0.265s 19. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 20.960s +0.286s 20. Brian Vickers Waltrip Toyota 20.972s +0.298s 21. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford 20.998s +0.324s 22. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 21.002s +0.328s 23. David Ragan Front Row Ford 21.014s +0.340s 24. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 21.031s +0.357s 25. Casey Mears Germain Ford 21.036s +0.362s 26. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 21.046s +0.372s 27. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 21.049s +0.375s 28. Landon Cassill Hillman Chevrolet 21.052s +0.378s 29. David Stremme Swan Toyota 21.081s +0.407s 30. Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 21.086s +0.412s 31. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 21.119s +0.445s 32. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 21.127s +0.453s 33. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 21.145s +0.471s 34. AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Toyota 21.172s +0.498s 35. David Reutimann BK Toyota 21.193s +0.519s 36. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 21.212s +0.538s 37. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 21.218s +0.544s 38. Ryan Truex Phoenix Chevrolet 21.244s +0.570s 39. Reed Sorenson Leavine Ford 21.322s +0.648s 40. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 21.361s +0.687s 41. Tony Raines Circle Sport Chevrolet 21.405s +0.731s 42. Ken Schrader FAS Lane Ford 21.450s +0.776s 43. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet 21.467s +0.793s Did not qualify: Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 21.225s 
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