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Texas qualifying: Gordon on pole, Martin, Earnhardt in top 10

FORT WORTH, Texas (Nov. 6. 2009) – Jeff Gordon earned his first pole position of the 2009 season during Friday’s qualifying session at Texas Motor Speedway and will be joined in Sunday’s starting top-10 by teammates Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

By earning the top spot, Gordon keeps his pole position streak intact. The driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet has scored at least one pole position in 17 straight seasons of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition.

“Better late than never,” Gordon said of earning the top spot with just three races left in the season. “It’s been a fantastic year for us in 2009. And I just want to say thanks to Steve (Letarte, crew chief) and all my guys and everybody back at Hendrick Motorsports. Everybody contributes – whether we win, whether we sit on the pole – everybody makes a great team effort. What a lap. I wasn’t sure if it was good enough.”

Gordon circled the 1.5-mile speedway in 28.255 seconds at roughly 191.117 mph to earn his second career pole position at Texas Motor Speedway. Earlier this season, the NASCAR veteran also started from the front row – the outside pole position – and went on to lead 105 laps and win his first career Cup victory at the track.

“I feel like we have a little bit of work to do from the last time,” said Gordon, who ranks third in the championship standings. “We had the speed early in the day; the team was awesome in the pits. We have a lot of confidence now, especially qualifying up front. (But) we’ve got a lot of work ahead.”

Martin, driver of the No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg’s Chevrolet, will start Sunday’s 500-mile event from the seventh position. Martin trails teammate and current points leader Jimmie Johnson by 184 points in the championship standings.

Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, will line up ninth, while Johnson will roll off the grid 12th in his No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet.

Race coverage of Sunday’s Cup event will start at 2:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

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