Jeff Gordon qualifies at 206.558 MPH
Michigan International Speedway, the fastest track in NASCAR just keeps getting faster and faster following a blazing burst of speeds Friday during Bandit Chippers Pole Day qualifying for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400.
Jeff Gordon finally ended up on the pole with a track record of 206.558 miles per hour to edge Joey Logano (206.381). They both broke the previous pole record attempts they posted earlier in the qualifying sessions.
Gordon wiped out the previous record of 204.557 mph set by Kevin Harvick at MIS last June in the Quicken Loans 400. But so did six other drivers including Logano, Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers, Brad Keselowski, Harvick and Paul Menard.
It was Gordon's sixth pole at MIS, his first was in 1995 with a track record of 186.611. Speeds have obviously jumped tremendously since then but not as much as in the last two years after MIS was repaved in the fall of 2011.
Gordon's pole-winning speed was the seventh fastest in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history. Whereas Greg Biffle won the pole position for the Pure Michigan 400 in 2011with a speed of 190.345, just before the track was repaved, a total of 32 drivers exceeded 200 miles per hour Friday.
It was also the 17th record winning speed this season on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. For MIS, it was the fourth record winning pole speed in the last six races.
Gordon said the sensation of the speed inside the car wasn't that dramatic, pointing out that not only a smoother track, but cooler temperatures, new tires and improved set-up procedures and additional horsepower contributed to the blazing speeds.
“It doesn't feel that fast, to be honest.” Gordon said. “It feels fast in the corners because I know I've got a tremendous amount of throttle in it and I'm carrying a lot of speed, at the same time when you're carrying that much speed in the corners you don't feel like you're going that fast on the straightaways. It’s not a big acceleration or change. The only thing that gets my attention is when I look up there (at the scoring tower) and I see the speeds. You don't realize you're going that fast.
“Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and the guys did a perfect job. This is exciting. To be running this good and have cars that are this great: back-to-back poles from Watkins Glen (Last Sunday) to Michigan, we're having a lot of fun right now.”