Jeff Gordon boosted his hopes of squeezing into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase by claiming pole for the deciding race at Richmond.
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 +0.197s10. Regan Smith Hendrick Chevrolet 20.884s +0.210s11. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 20.894s +0.220s12. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 20.910s +0.236s13. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota 20.911s +0.237s14. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 20.919s +0.245s15. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 20.921s +0.247s16. Mark Martin Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 20.926s +0.252s17. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 20.931s +0.257s18. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 20.939s +0.265s19. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 20.960s +0.286s20. Brian Vickers Waltrip Toyota 20.972s +0.298s21. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford 20.998s +0.324s22. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 21.002s +0.328s23. David Ragan Front Row Ford 21.014s +0.340s24. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 21.031s +0.357s25. Casey Mears Germain Ford 21.036s +0.362s26. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 21.046s +0.372s27. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 21.049s +0.375s28. Landon Cassill Hillman Chevrolet 21.052s +0.378s29. David Stremme Swan Toyota 21.081s +0.407s30. Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 21.086s +0.412s31. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 21.119s +0.445s32. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 21.127s +0.453s33. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 21.145s +0.471s34. AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Toyota 21.172s +0.498s35. David Reutimann BK Toyota 21.193s +0.519s36. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 21.212s +0.538s37. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 21.218s +0.544s38. Ryan Truex Phoenix Chevrolet 21.244s +0.570s39. Reed Sorenson Leavine Ford 21.322s +0.648s40. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 21.361s +0.687s41. Tony Raines Circle Sport Chevrolet 21.405s +0.731s42. Ken Schrader FAS Lane Ford 21.450s +0.776s43. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet 21.467s +0.793sDid not qualify: Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 21.225s