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Gordon on pole for second round of the Chase

Jeff Gordon will attempt to bounce back from a disastrous opening week in the Chase by starting the Sylvania 300 from pole position at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday.
Jeff Gordon claimed pole position for the second round of the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, as he attempts to bounce back from his disastrous outing last weekend at Chicago.

"This car has been awesome in qualifying trim all day long," said Gordon after his 28.232s (134.911mph) lap, which put him 0.033s ahead of Kyle Busch in the final timings. "What an awesome effort, great lap. It felt good.

"The car got off the corner really strong and I thought that it would be really close and as tight as these times are you just never know," he continued. "Kyle laid down a heck of a lap so did Tony there to shoot for and man I'm so proud. That felt great. To go out and get a pole on a non-restrictor track, we haven't done that in a little while so this feels really good."

Gordon's only previous pole in 2012 was at one of those restrictor plates tracks - Talladega - which was also where he'd won his only pole of 2011. He has to look all the way back to Charlotte Motor Speedway in October 2010 for a pole position away from the superspeedways.

Gordon did get a little aerodynamic advantage in qualifying - by deciding to shave off the old-style 70s moustache he'd started to grow after pledging one if he made it into the Chase, which he had.

"I did the moustache because somebody said, 'Hey, bring back the moustache,'" he explained. "I said, 'Well, if we make the Chase then I'll bring it back.' So I brought it back and then with the way that it went last week I was like, 'Okay, I'm done with the moustache.' I just changed my mind."

Did that mean Gordon accepted that the disastrous outing at Chicago last week was the end of his Chase hopes in 2012? Not necessarily, the four-time champion insisted.

"It's not that we're out of it by any means, we know we have a lot of work to do, but we can certainly win this thing," he said. "With all we've been through, last week was a bump in the road, but it's not putting us in that mind frame where we're just completely devastated and feel like we're out of it."

So what did he have to do to put himself back in the running? "We have to score a lot more points than the other guys," he laughed. "How do you know what that is? The problem is that you have 11 guys that you have to do that with.




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Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 AMP Energy/Diet Mtn. Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, signs autographs for fans during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2012 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, talks with team owner Joe Gibbs during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2012 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2012 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2012 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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