Gordon leads Hendrick romp in Talladega qualifying

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, Last Updated: 3:37 PM ET

Hendrick Motorsports dominated Saturday's qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway, with all four of its drivers sweeping the top-four starting positions for the Aaron's 499.

Jeff Gordon notched his 70th career pole in the Sprint Cup Series after posting a lap of 178.248 m.p.h. around the 2.66-mile superspeedway. Gordon was the only driver who topped the 178 m.p.h. mark and surpassed Cale Yarborough for third place on the series' all-time pole winners list.

Richard Petty holds the record for most poles with 123, followed by David Pearson's 113.

Hendrick Motorsports becomes just the third team in the history of NASCAR's top-tier series to qualify four cars in the first four starting spots. Roush Fenway Racing was the last team to do so, in 2005 at California Speedway. Pete DePaolo had his four cars line up on the first two starting rows for a 1956 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Jimmie Johnson, the five-time defending series champion, qualified second, while Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the third and fourth positions.

"It shows the type of teamwork and communication sharing that goes on at Hendrick Motorsports," Gordon said. "It's very impressive to see us one, two, three and four. It's so ironic, because Mark and I have been working together in practice. He's right behind me. We expect the 48 [Johnson] and the 88 [Earnhardt Jr.] to work together, running nose to tail. It's a great way to get the weekend started."

Gordon leads all active drivers with six wins at Talladega. His first pole here came in the spring 2007 race, which he won.

"We couldn't have done this any better," Johnson said. "[Earnhardt Jr.] had a funny quote. He told [crew chief] Steve [Letarte] to send over a text to [Johnson's crew chief] Chad [Knaus] that we better qualify second, so we don't mess this thing up. We want our cars lined up in the order which we hoped it would be."

Paul Menard qualified fifth, and Landon Cassill was sixth. Chevrolet swept the top six spots.

David Ragan, in a Ford, will start seventh, followed by Kurt Busch, Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer.

Points leader Carl Edwards will start 20th. Edwards currently holds a nine- point advantage over Kyle Busch, who will roll off in 34th.

Kevin Harvick struggled in qualifying with a 38th-place finish.

Sam Hornish Jr., who is driving Robby Gordon's No.7 Dodge, had his qualifying time disallowed after his car failed post-qualifying inspection. Hornish will start from the rear of the field.

Mike Skinner, Tony Raines and Michael McDowell failed to qualify.

Sunday's 500-mile race at Talladega is scheduled to start just after 1:00 p.m. (et).


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