Jeff Gordon beat Kevin Harvick to pole in a frantic end to NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying at Charlotte on Thursday evening.
Harvick and Gordon were the last two drivers in the 43-car line to qualify for Saturday night’s race. Gordon’s Hendrick teammate Kasey Kahne had been fastest for the majority of the session, having gone out second. But Kahne was convinced he had made costly mistakes on his run and expected to be deposed.
It eventually took 36 cars for that to happen, with Roush Fenway’s Greg Biffle taking over provisional pole.
Biffle’s time held up against a challenge from Jimmie Johnson, but next two cars out Harvick and Gordon both went quicker and ended up sharing the front row.
Gordon’s lap of 27.791 seconds and 194.308mph was 0.015 second faster than Kansas polesitter and winner Harvick’s Richard Childress Chevrolet.
Behind Biffle in third, Gordon’s Hendrick stablemates Johnson, Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. filled fourth to sixth places. Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya share row four, followed by the Busch brothers.
Montoya’s 2014 Earnhardt Ganassi replacement Kyle Larson is making his Cup debut this weekend with Phoenix. He qualified 21st, only one place behind points leader Matt Kenseth.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 27.791s 2. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 27.806s +0.015s 3. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 27.841s +0.050s 4. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 27.865s +0.074s 5. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 27.879s +0.088s 6. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 27.902s +0.111s 7. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 27.913s +0.122s 8. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 27.919s +0.128s 9. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota 27.921s +0.130s10. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet 27.963s +0.172s11. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 27.980s +0.189s12. Joey Logano Penske Ford 27.983s +0.192s13. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 28.015s +0.224s14. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 28.020s +0.229s15. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 28.041s +0.250s16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford 28.072s +0.281s17. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 28.091s +0.300s18. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota 28.107s +0.316s19. Brian Scott Childress Chevrolet 28.122s +0.331s20. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota 28.126s +0.335s21. Kyle Larson Phoenix Chevrolet 28.131s +0.340s22. Mark Martin Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 28.157s +0.366s23. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford 28.162s +0.371s24. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 28.179s +0.388s25. Jamie McMUrray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 28.189s +0.398s26. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 28.203s +0.412s27. Brian Vickers Waltrip Toyota 28.278s +0.487s28. Casey Mears Germain Ford 28.333s +0.542s29. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 28.339s +0.548s30. David Ragan Front Row Ford 28.369s +0.578s31. Cole Whitt Swan Toyota 28.370s +0.579s32. Landon Cassill Circle Sport Chevrolet 28.470s +0.679s33. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 28.542s +0.751s34. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 28.561s +0.770s35. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 28.583s +0.792s36. David Reutimann BK Toyota 28.631s +0.840s37. Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 28.659s +0.868s38. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 28.741s +0.950s39. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 28.746s +0.955s40. Timmy Hill FAS Lane Ford 28.823s +1.032s41. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 28.924s +1.133s42. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet 29.049s +1.258s43. Blake Koch Leavine Ford 29.905s +2.114s