SONOMA, Calif. (AP) – Jeff Gordon broke his own qualifying record at Infineon Raceway to win the pole Friday, and combined with teammate Jimmie Johnson to give Hendrick Motorsports the front row for Sunday’s race.

Gordon, the last of 48 drivers to attempt qualifying laps, raced around the twisting 1.99-mile road course at 94.325 mph, breaking the mark of 94.303 he set last year. It was his fifth pole at the course.

Gordon won from the pole last year. Nextel Cup points leader Johnson, also driving a Chevrolet, took the second spot for Sunday’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 at 94.165, followed by Mark Martin at 94.012, road course ace Boris Said at 93.975, and Robby Gordon at 93.885.

“This is definitely a place we enjoy coming to,” Gordon said. “We know we need to turn things around, but you want to come in here and concentrate on the race. I do feel pressure, though.” The four-time series champion and four-time Sonoma winner has finished 30th or worse in four of his last five races, including 32nd last week at Michigan.

He’s 12th in the series standings.

Johnson, never a winner on a road course in Cup competition, told himself: “Don’t let this track play games with you.”

Martin, who won from the pole here in 1997, figured Gordon would beat him.

“The reason I’m having fun is because my car’s running so good,” Martin said.

Rounding out the top 10 for Sunday’s race are series champion Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, Terry Labonte, Scott Pruett and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

AP-ES-06-24-05 2049EDT

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