Gordon wins Las Vegas pole with new track record

Las Vegas, NV ( - Jeff Gordon won the pole for the Kobalt 400 after setting a new track record in Friday's qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Gordon, who is in his final season of Sprint Cup Series competition, turned a lap around this 1.5-mile racetrack at 194.679 mph for his second pole of the season and the 79th of his career. It was also his first pole win in 18 races at Las Vegas.

The driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and four-time series champion has now won at least one pole at every current Sprint Cup track except Kansas and Kentucky.

Gordon won the pole for the Daytona 500, but one week ago at Atlanta, he was one of 13 drivers who did not get a chance to make a qualifying run due to inspection issues. All 13 had their cars initially fail inspection and then could not have another examination of their vehicles completed in time for qualifying. Gordon was placed in the 35th starting position. He was involved in a multi-car accident late in the race and ended up finishing 41st.

"What a turnaround from last week," Gordon said of his pole win at Las Vegas. "I'm just so proud of this team and keeping their heads up. Last week was a tough one, and this is a great, great way to start out the weekend here in Las Vegas."

Joey Logano, the Daytona 500 champion and last year's pole winner at Las Vegas, will share the front row with Gordon after posting a lap at 194.315 mph.

"We were so close," Logano said. "I thought the last lap was really good. I felt good about it and thought it was the fastest I had been, but Jeff laid down a really good one."

Gordon's teammates, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr., qualified third and fourth, respectively, while Kyle Larson took the fifth spot.

Finishing sixth through 12th in the final round of qualifying were: Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, who is also Gordon's teammate, Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski, the defending race winner at Las Vegas, and Tony Stewart.

Ten drivers in qualifying topped the previous track record of 193.278 mph, set by Logano one year ago.

Brian Vickers, who is making his season debut in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota three months after he underwent open heart surgery, qualified 28th.

Mike Bliss, Matt DiBenedetto, Travis Kvapil, Reed Sorenson and Mike Wallace failed to qualify for Sunday's 400-mile race at Las Vegas.