Homestead, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – Five days after he was eliminated from the
Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, Jeff Gordon won the pole for the
season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
While Gordon will start on the pole for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at
Homestead, three of the four drivers battling for the Sprint Cup Series
championship will start in the top-10. Kevin Harvick, the winner of last
weekend’s race at Phoenix, qualified fifth. Denny Hamlin, who won the 2013
season-finale at this 1.5-mile racetrack, took the eighth spot, and Joey
Logano was ninth. Ryan Newman, who is the only one in the final four without a
victory this season, will start 21st.
Gordon earned his third pole of the season and the 77th of his Cup career
after making a lap at 180.747 mph during the third and final round of Friday’s
knockout qualifying at Homestead. It’s his first pole in 16 races here as
well. Gordon also gave Hendrick Motorsports its 200th pole in NASCAR’s premier
“I’m really excited about that pole,” Gordon said. “I’ve never been on the
pole here before, and to be the 200th pole for Hendrick Motorsports is really
cool. I think the way we are looking at this weekend is we want to close out
the season the absolute best we can. It has been a tremendous season. The No.
24 team has been incredible this year. We are disappointed that we aren’t in
this thing for the championship, but that’s not going to stop us from trying
to go out to win the pole and win the race.”
Gordon finished second at Phoenix but came up one point short of making into
the Championship Round. Ryan Newman’s 11th-place finish there allowed him to
top Gordon for the last spot in the final four. Newman bumped rookie Kyle
Larson and put him into the wall while the two were battling for the 11th
position on the final turn of the last lap.
Kurt Busch qualified second, followed by Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski, who
set a new track qualifying record at Homestead with a lap at 181.238 mph
during the first qualifying round.