NASCAR New Hampshire Starting Lineup 2012: Jeff Gordon Takes Top Qualifying Spot

After a disastrous run in last week's Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway left him 47 points out of the lead, Jeff Gordon needs a good showing in Sunday's NASCAR race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

He took the first step toward a comeback on Friday, winning the pole position for the Sylvania 300 – his first Loudon pole since 2001.

"The car got off the corner really strong, but as tight as these times are, you never know," Gordon told PRN after his lap. "To go out and get a pole on a non-restrictor (plate) track, we haven't done that in awhile. So this felt really good."

The pole was Gordon's first on an unrestricted track since 2010 (he won poles at Talladega in 2011 and earlier this year). It also marks the first time he's won multiple poles in a season since 2008.

To do it, Gordon knocked Kyle Busch from the top spot as the second-to-last car on the track. Denny Hamlin had been fastest in practice and went out after Gordon, but he only managed a 32nd-place effort.

Busch will start second, followed by Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers and Carl Edwards

Other Chase drivers included Kasey Kahne (sixth), Martin Truex Jr. (ninth) and the contingent of Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick (12th through 16th).

Jimmie Johnson was a disappointing 20th, followed by Matt Kenseth (25th) and Hamlin (32nd).

David Stremme, Scott Riggs, Jason Leffler and Jeff Green failed to qualify for Sunday's race.

Here's the starting lineup for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Chase drivers in bold):

  1. Jeff Gordon
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Tony Stewart
  4. Brian Vickers
  5. Carl Edwards
  6. Kasey Kahne
  7. Paul Menard
  8. Ryan Newman
  9. Martin Truex Jr.
  10. Dave Blaney (qualified for Sam Hornish Jr.)
  11. Jeff Burton
  12. Clint Bowyer
  13. Greg Biffle
  14. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  15. Brad Keselowski
  16. Kevin Harvick
  17. Bobby Labonte
  18. Joey Logano
  19. Aric Almirola
  20. Jimmie Johnson
  21. Marcos Ambrose
  22. Regan Smith
  23. Kurt Busch
  24. Juan Pablo Montoya
  25. Matt Kenseth
  26. David Ragan
  27. Scott Speed
  28. Landon Cassill
  29. Jamie McMurray
  30. Casey Mears
  31. Michael McDowell
  32. Denny Hamlin
  33. Travis Kvapil
  34. David Reutimann
  35. Reed Sorenson
  36. Joe Nemechek
  37. David Gilliland
  38. Kelly Bires
  39. Stephen Leicht
  40. Tony Raines
  41. Mike Olsen
  42. JJ Yeley
  43. David Stremme
DNQ: Josh Wise (time disallowed), Scott Riggs, Jason Leffler, Jeff Green.
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