RICHMOND, Va. - Jeff Gordon rolled to his third consecutive NASCAR Nextel Cup pole position last night, and former series champion Dale Jarrett was among those headed home as Toyota teams again struggled to compete.
Gordon, a four-time series champion, will start on the pole for the fourth consecutive week and for the fifth time in six races. He has won two races in a row, and opened a 203-point lead over second-place Jeff Burton after nine races.
Jarrett was blown away. His Toyota finished 47th among the 50 cars attempting to make the field, with a fast lap at just 123.226 m.p.h. The 1999 champion, who used up his last past-champion's provisional last week at Talladega, missed a race for the first time since 1994 in North Wilkesboro, N.C.
The second-fastest qualifier was Carl Edwards in a Ford at 125.657 m.p.h.
Edwards has yet to finish in the top 10 in a Car Of Tomorrow race - his best was 11th at Phoenix - and was elated even before he knew he would start on the front row.
"That's a great big step for us," he said.
Scott Riggs qualified third in a Dodge, followed by the Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne in another Dodge. The rest of the top 10 includes the Chevys of Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex and Mark Martin, and Dave Blaney's Toyota.
A.J. Allmendinger (13th), David Reutimann (14th) and Johnny Benson (31st) also made the race in Toyotas, while Jarrett, Michael Waltrip and Jeremy Mayfield did not.
RICHMOND, Va. - Clint Bowyer won the race off pit road with about 28 laps to go and easily captured his fifth NASCAR Busch Series race.