Jamie McMurray Takes Southern 500 Pole, Sets Track Record

Jamie McMurray has captured the pole for the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, setting a new track record in the process.

McMurray's second pole of the season was a result of his record-setting lap of more than 180.370 mph, edging out Jeff Gordon for the top spot.

Matt Kenseth held the previous record, set last year.

"I was grinning in the car because you just don't get to have this kind of a lap very often," McMurray said. "So I knew it was going to be a good lap."

McMurray had three career poles entering 2010, but now has two this year. He cited an emphasis on qualifying setup at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing as the reason for his improved qualifying efforts (he's currently averaging better than a 15th-place starting spot, a career best).

"We had a really good car in practice, and I think that almost puts more pressure on you, to go out and back that up," McMurray said. "I was pretty impressed with the amount of grip that the car had between turns 1 and 2."

Gordon missed the top spot by less than one-hundreth of a second and said he wondered what else he could have done to improve his lap. But the seven-time Darlington winner said he was still pleased with the car.

Brian Vickers will start third, followed by David Reutimann and Mark Martin.

Three drivers failed to qualify: Joe Nemechek, Casey Mears and Mike Bliss.

STARTING LINEUP: Showtime Southern 500

  1. Jamie McMurray
  2. Jeff Gordon
  3. Brian Vickers
  4. David Reutimann
  5. Mark Martin
  6. Ryan Newman
  7. Marcos Ambrose
  8. Denny Hamlin
  9. Brad Keselowski
  10. Kasey Kahne
  11. Jeff Burton
  12. AJ Allmendinger
  13. Joey Logano
  14. Kurt Busch
  15. Juan Pablo Montoya
  16. Scott Speed
  17. Greg Biffle
  18. Michael McDowell
  19. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  20. Paul Menard
  21. David Ragan
  22. Jimmie Johnson
  23. Bobby Labonte
  24. Tony Stewart
  25. Sam Hornish Jr.
  26. Robby Gordon
  27. Clint Bowyer
  28. Dave Blaney
  29. Matt Kenseth
  30. J.J. Yeley
  31. David Stremme
  32. Regan Smith
  33. Martin Truex Jr.
  34. David Gilliland
  35. Kevin Harvick
  36. Reed Sorenson
  37. Todd Bodine
  38. Elliott Sadler
  39. Kyle Busch
  40. Travis Kvapil
  41. Carl Edwards
  42. Kevin Conway
  43. Max Papis
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