Newman made it around the 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway track in 28.515 seconds. It was his fifth pole victory this season and the 42nd of his Nextel Cup career.
Seven of his career poles have come on the Lowe's track.
Gordon will start Saturday's race with a nine-point lead over Johnson. Clint Bowyer is in third place, 63 points behind. He qualified 25th Thursday.
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