• 55°

NASCAR: Gordon on the pole at Las Vegas

The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jeff Gordon, preparing for his final start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, won the pole for Sunday’s race — his first career pole at the track.

It’s the 79th pole of Gordon’s career and leaves just Kansas and Kentucky as the only active tracks where he’s yet to win a pole. Kentucky is the only track on the circuit where Gordon has not won a race.

The four-time champion is retiring at the end of this season.

Gordon turned a lap at 194.679 mph in his Chevrolet and gave a hard pump of his arm into the air as he climbed from the car. He said he was conservative in the second round of qualifying, but went for it in the final round.

“I knew that if we were going to win the pole, you have to be fully committed and just go for it,” he said. “I drove it down in there and I may have come off it a tiny bit, but it wasn’t much at all. And it stuck so good. That was fun.”

Gordon also won the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500, but he crashed at the end of that race. He was one of 13 drivers who didn’t make a qualifying attempt last week at Atlanta because their cars did not clear inspection in time. He then had a hard crash into an unprotected concrete wall in Sunday’s race.

“What a turnaround from last week,” he said of his Hendrick Motorsports team. “I am just so proud of this team and keeping their heads up and it’s just a great way to start the weekend at Las Vegas.”

Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano qualified second in a Team Penske Ford.

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

Hendrick Motorsports-powered cars had seven of the top 12 qualifying times, and all four Hendrick drivers advanced to the final round.

Kasey Kahne qualified third and was followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Larson.

A week after inspection at Atlanta created a debacle in qualifying, only one had an issue on Friday.

NASCAR pulled Brad Keselowski off the grid moments before qualifying began and sent his Ford back to inspection because an official witnessed the team pulling out the wheel opening on pit road. Team Penske had to fix the issue in the inspection bay, and Keselowski hustled out onto the track with under six minutes remaining in the first session.

Keselowski wound up 11th, but had no answers for what happened with his car and NASCAR inspectors.

“I honestly don’t know enough to speak intelligently about it, so I will let the smart guys do that part,” he said.

Gordon said there were still issues in inspection for most cars, and he needed two times to pass through. It created a backup, but he said NASCAR managed to get all the cars through before qualifying began.

“It happened again, and somehow all the cars got out there on pit road,” Gordon said.

RACE LINEUP

1. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 194.679 mph.

2. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 194.315.

3. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 194.287.

4. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 194.091.

5. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 193.959.

6. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 193.632.

7. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 193.507.

8. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 193.389.

9. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 193.334.

10. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 193.112.

11. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 192.555.

12. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 192.287.

13. (18) David Ragan, Toyota, 192.685.

14. (19) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 192.527.

15. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 192.472.

16. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 192.424.

17. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 192.294.

18. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 192.28.

19. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 191.782.

20. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 191.768.

21. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 191.523.

22. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 191.34.

23. (33) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, 190.564.

24. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 189.994.

25. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 190.355.

26. (51) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 189.967.

27. (7) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 189.947.

28. (55) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 189.82.

29. (9) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, 189.727.

30. (21) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 189.447.

31. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 189.354.

32. (95) Michael McDowell, Ford, 189.314.

33. (46) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 189.228.

34. (41) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 189.215.

35. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 189.003.

36. (34) Brett Moffitt, Ford, 188.488.

37. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, Owner Points.

38. (35) Cole Whitt, Ford, Owner Points.

39. (98) Josh Wise, Ford, Owner Points.

40. (23) J.J. Yeley, Toyota, Owner Points.

41. (26) Jeb Burton, Toyota, Owner Points.

42. (40) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Owner Points.

43. (62) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, Owner Points.

Failed to Qualify

44. (32) Mike Bliss, Ford, 185.618.

45. (29) Reed Sorenson, Toyota, 184.925.

46. (44) Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, 184.634.

47. (66) Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, 181.245.

48. (83) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 180.668.

Comments

High School

Hornets pour it on in second half to claim state championship game

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras

Education

Educators reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week

Education

Livingstone College wins $30,000 Home Depot grant

Education

Shoutouts

News

Shield-A-Badge With Prayer program enters 26th year, accepting volunteers to pair with officers

Education

COVID-19 infection, quarantine numbers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools reach new highs

High School

High school football: Offensive line came together for Hornets, who play for state title tonight

Local

Pro baseball: White makes pro debut and says, ‘It felt amazing to be out there’

Education

West Rowan Middle eighth grader wins investment writing contest

Local

YSUP Rowan invites agencies to participate in youth-focused training

Nation/World

US backs waiving intellectual property rules on vaccines

News

As demand drops, Cooper visits vaccine clinic to urge usage

News

NC lawmakers advance bill barring mandatory COVID-19 shots

News

N.C. bill banning Down syndrome abortions nears floor vote

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees 301st death from COVID-19

Coronavirus

N.C. lawmakers advance bill barring mandatory COVID-19 shots

Local

Rowan Public Library joins initiative to help people with digital connectivity

Local

Mocksville to dissolve police department

Crime

Blotter: May 5

Local

Salisbury’s McElroy named top city, county communications professional in state