Saturday, May 2, 2015

Jeff Gordon grabs Talladega pole, his third of season and 80th of career

Jeff Gordon surged to the 80th Coors Light Pole Award of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Saturday afternoon qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway.

Gordon, in his final full season driving the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet, notched a fast lap of 194.793 mph on the 2.66-mile track. The Coors Light Pole Award was also Gordon's third of the season and fourth at Talladega.

Kasey Kahne pushed the Hendrick No. 5 Chevy to a lap of 193.685 mph, snaring the second starting spot for Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX). Gordon, the last driver to make a qualifying attempt, was .281 seconds better than teammate Kahne.

Ryan Blaney qualified third at 193.611 mph in theWood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford. TeammatesDale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson were next, placing all four Hendrick Motorsports cars in the top five starting spots.

The session was the series' first since NASCAR mandated rules changes for qualifying on tracks where restrictor plates are used to limit engine horsepower. The group qualifying format introduced before the 2014 season often created large aerodynamic packs, gamesmanship and the threat of multi-car crashes.

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