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Four and Counting: Gordon Takes Chicagoland Pole

JOLIET, Ill. (July 9, 2004) – Jeff Gordon is on a roll.

The four-time NASCAR champion broke the Chicagoland Speedway track record Friday, nabbing his fourth straight NEXTEL Cup pole position and his fifth of 2004.

“With each week that we sit on another pole, that we win another race, the confidence level continues to get higher and higher,” Gordon said.

Driving the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, Gordon toured the 1.5-mile oval in 28.886 seconds at 186.942 mph for his 51st career pole award, tying Bobby Isaac for seventh on the all-time list.

Teammates Jimmie Johnson and Brian Vickers were third and fourth respectively, putting three Hendrick Motorsports cars in the top-four.

“The lap was good,” said Johnson, who earned his 10th top-10 start of the year and his second in three races at Chicago.  “No complaints with that.  Obviously, I wish we could have been fast enough to get the pole.

“Hendrick Motorsports is on a roll when you look at the scoring pylon and you see those three Hendrick cars up there in the top-four—that’s pretty amazing.  It’s a great day for us and hopefully we’ll have everything right on Sunday afternoon for this Lowe’s Monte Carlo.”

Vickers, who will start his first-ever NEXTEL Cup race at Chicagoland on Sunday, posted his ninth top-10 qualifying effort of 2004.

“It was a good lap for the conditions,” Vickers said.  “The GMAC Chevy team did a great job; all the guys did a good job.”

After touring Chicagoland at 184.024 mph in the No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet, two-time Cup Series champion Terry Labonte will start on the outside of Row 12 in the 24th position.

Sunday will mark Labonte’s 799th career race at the NEXTEL Cup level.

BUSCH ON OUTSIDE POLE FOR SATURDAY

Kyle Busch will start second in Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series event at Chicagoland Speedway.

Driving his No. 5 Lowe’s/Briggs & Stratton Chevrolet, Busch was clocked at 182.125 mph and 29.650 seconds, earning his seventh front-row start of the season.

Bobby Hamilton Jr. picked up the pole position with a track-record lap of 183.611 mph and 29.410 seconds.

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