BRISTOL, Tenn. – Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin earned starting spots inside the top five during Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying session at Bristol Motor Speedway. Their Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top 22.
Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, scored the fourth-place starting spot. In 37 starts at Bristol, Gordon has five wins, 14 top-five finishes and 20 top-10s. He is ranked sixth in the driver standings and could clinch a top-10 spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by leaving Bristol with a 97-point lead over 11th place. Gordon could clinch a wild card spot by winning Saturday’s night race.
Martin drove his No. 5 Farmers Insurance/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet to pick up the fifth starting spot. In 45 starts at Bristol, Martin has two wins, 16 top-five finishes and 23 top-10s. Martin is ranked 16th in the driver standings and contending for a wild card spot in the Chase.
Johnson will line up 13th in his No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet on Saturday. In 19 starts at Bristol, Johnson has one win, five top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. Ranked second in the driver standings, Johnson can clinch a Chase spot this weekend by: finishing at least 18th; 19th and lead at least one lap led; or 20th and lead the most laps.
Earnhardt will start 22nd in the No. 88 AMP Energy/Bristol 50th Anniversary/National Guard Chevrolet on Saturday night. In 23 starts at Bristol, Earnhardt has one win, seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. He is ranked ninth in the driver standings.
Race coverage will begin Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC.