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Gordon wins pole for his last Daytona 500

Gordon wins pole for his last Daytona 500
The start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida February 24, 2013. UPI/Marc Serota | License Photo

Jeff Gordon will start on the pole for his final Daytona 500 after winning Sunday's qualifying, which featured NASCAR's group qualifying format for the first time in the 57-year history of this prestigious race.

Gordon, who announced last month that 2015 will be his last season competing full-time in the Sprint Cup Series, turned a lap at 201.293 mph during the third and final round of qualifying to guarantee himself the top starting position for the Feb. 22 Daytona 500.

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It was the 78th career pole win for Gordon, including his second in the Daytona 500. Gordon is a four-time series champion and three-time winner of the Daytona 500 (1997, '99 and 2005). His victory in the '99 season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway came from the pole.

Jimmie Johnson, the six-time series champion and two-time winner of the Daytona 500, will share the front row with Gordon, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, after posting a lap at 201.135 mph. Gordon and Johnson are the only drivers who have their starting positions determined for this race. Positions 3-43 will be set in Thursday's Budweiser Duel twin-qualifying races at Daytona.

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NASCAR's group qualifying format for the Daytona 500 was not exactly a hit with drivers and teams. Many drivers, including Clint Bowyer, criticized the format. Bowyer was one of five competitors involved in a crash that occurred in turn 1 with 1 minute, 22 seconds remaining in the first group of the opening round in qualifying.

Sunday's qualifying results for the Daytona 500:

1. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet, 201.293 mph (Round 3)

2. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, 201.135 mph (Round 3)

3. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, 200.933 mph (Round 3)

4. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota, 200.214 mph (Round 3)

5. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota, 200.187 mph (Round 3)

6. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet, 199.867 mph (Round 3)

7. Carl Edwards, No. 19 Toyota, 197.837 mph (Round 3)

8. Ty Dillon, No. 33 Chevrolet, 197.507 mph (Round 3)

9. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, 196.962 mph (Round 3)

10. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet, 195.080 mph (Round 3)

11. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet, 193.133 mph (Round 3)

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12. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Chevrolet, 190.678 mph (Round 3)

13. Johnny Sauter, No. 83 Toyota, 198.220 mph (Round 2)

14. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, 197.477 mph (Round 2)

15. Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford, 197.256 mph (Round 2)

16. Sam Hornish Jr., No. 9 Ford, 197.243 mph (Round 2)

17. Aric Almirola, No. 43 Ford, 197.200 mph (Round 2)

18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford, 196.816 mph (Round 2)

19. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford, 193.357 mph (Round 2)

20. Ryan Blaney, No. 21 Ford, 193.282 mph (Round 2)

21. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford, 193.241 mph (Round 2)

22. Michael Waltrip, No. 55 Toyota, 190.517 mph (Round 2)

23. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, 0.000 mph (Round 2)

24. Bobby Labonte, No. 32 Ford, 0.000 mph (Round 2)

25. Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet, 198.325 mph (Round 1, Group B)

26. Alex Bowman, No. No. 7 Chevrolet, 198.229 mph (Round 1, Group B)

27. A.J. Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, 198.212 mph (Round 1, Group B)

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28. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet, 198.177 mph (Round 1, Group B)

29. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet, 197.994 mph (Round 1, Group A)

30. Kurt Busch, No. 41 Chevrolet, 197.976 mph (Round 1, Group A)

31. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevrolet, 197.968 mph (Round 1, Group A)

32. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevrolet, 197.959 mph (Round 1, Group A)

33. Casey Mears, No. 13 Chevrolet, 197.946 mph (Round 1, Group A)

34. Brian Scott, No. 62 Chevrolet, 197.828 mph (Round 1, Group A)

35. Michael Annett, No. 46 Chevrolet, 195.554 mph (Round 1, Group A)

36. Justin Allgaier, No. 51 Chevrolet, 196.532 mph (Round 1, Group A)

37. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet, 195.588 mph (Round 1, Group B)

38. David Gilliland, No. 38 Ford, 195.346 mph (Round 1, Group A)

39. Michael McDowell, No. 95 Ford, 195.300 mph (Round 1, Group B)

40. Jeb Burton, No. 26 Toyota, 195.004 mph (Round 1, Group A)

41. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Toyota, 194.995 mph (Round 1, Group A)

42. Reed Sorenson, No. 44 Chevrolet, 194.978 mph (Round 1, Group A)

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43. Justin Marks, No. 29 Toyota, 194.675 mph (Round 1, Group B)

44. David Ragan, No. 34 Ford, 194.452 mph (Round 1, Group A)

45. Cole Whitt, No. 35 Ford, 194.012 mph (Round 1, Group A)

46. Josh Wise, No. 98 Ford, 193.386 mph (Round 1, Group B)

47. Landon Cassill, No. 40 Chevrolet, 193.299 mph (Round 1, Group B)

48. Mike Wallace, No. 66 Toyota, 192.509 mph (Round 1, Group A)

49. Ron Hornaday Jr., No. 30 Chevrolet, 190.791 mph (Round 1, Group B)

[SportsNetwork.com]

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