Jeff Gordon counted out the five wins he has this season, then his five poles. It was an hour before qualifying, and Gordon set a goal for himself.
"I think I want to make it six and six this weekend," he said.
Gordon took the first step yesterday, winning the pole for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway with a speed of 128.520 mph.
It was the 52nd pole of his career, series-best sixth this season, and put him in perfect contention for his -- you guessed it -- sixth Bristol victory.
His last win at Bristol came in 2002, when he snapped his 31-race winless streak by winning the night race. Gordon celebrated that victory as if it was the first of his career.
"I love this track, it reminds me of the short-track days, and I love putting these big heavy cars on it," Gordon said.
Rookie Kasey Kahne qualified second in the No. 9 Dodge with a lap of 127.410 mph.
Last night, Dale Earnhardt Jr. outlasted a season-high 13 cautions -- and overtime -- to beat Matt Kenseth in a green-white-checkered flag finish in the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Earnhardt, who started from the pole, led a race-high 125 laps, but several late cautions bunched up the field and gave the competitors a chance to run him down.
He had a terrific restart with nine laps to go, easily pulling away from Kevin Harvick. But Kenseth pushed past Harvick and was reeling Earnhardt in when the 13th caution flag came out for a wreck involving Tony Raines and Jay Sauter.
It set up the first green-white-checkered flag finish of the Busch series, and Earnhardt once again got a jump to pull away from Kenseth and ride on to his second Busch series win in four starts this season.
* CHAMP CAR: Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais added to his already huge lead in the Champ Car World Series, grabbing the single point for taking the provisional pole for the Montreal Molson Indy.
"I don't think we really have any weaknesses right now," Bourdais said after driving his Newman/Haas Racing Lola to a lap of 1 minute 21.695 seconds -- a speed of 119.376 mph -- on the 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve track.
Alex Tagliani, who led 52 of the first 57 laps here last year before a failed fuel strategy knocked him out of contention, was a strong second at 1:21.791 (119.236), followed by Mario Dominguez at 1:22.056 (118.851).