In his 13 years in NASCAR's top series, Jeff Gordon has learned when to use finesse and when to charge.
So, making that call yesterday was no sweat for the four-time champion. He charged -- and the pole was his for the DHL 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.
"You know when to push it and when to hold it back," Gordon explained. "Today was a day to push it because the car was just about perfect. When the car's getting through the corners and down the straightaways like that, it certainly makes my job easy."
Gordon's fast lap of 190.865 mph broke the race qualifying mark of 190.365, set last year by Bobby Labonte. But it fell short of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s track qualifying record of 191.149 at the August race in 2000. It was Gordon's second pole of the season and the 48th of his career.
He led a sweep of the top three spots by Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets, with rookie Brian Vickers second at 190.169 and Jimmie Johnson at 190.164.
"I'm really proud of the way these teams have worked together, the open-book policy, the chemistry," Gordon said.
* BUSCH SERIES: Martin Truex Jr. won the pole for the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, topping a record-setting qualifying session.
Truex reached a top speed of 180.102 mph in his Chevrolet around the 11/2-mile track. He broke the track and event record held for barely 15 minutes by Kyle Busch, who turned in a lap of 179.832 mph in his Chevrolet.
* CHAMP CAR: Bruno Junquiera added another point to his very slim series lead over Patrick Carpentier by winning the provisional pole for the Grand Prix of Portland in Oregon.
Junquiera earned one point for his fast lap of 59.266 seconds, at an average speed of 119.603 mph, on the road course at Portland International Raceway. With the provisional pole, Junquiera upped his series total to 77, two points ahead of Carpentier.
The Brazilian driver is also guaranteed a front-row spot for Sunday's race on the 1.969-mile permanent road course just north of downtown Portland.
Junquiera had his fastest pass on just his third lap, before he started dealing with traffic. He called it quits after six laps.
-- From News Services