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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