First victory in Texas came in April

Updated: November 7, 2009, 3:33 PM ET
By Adam Amick/Special contributor | ESPNDallas.com

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jeff Gordon is in good position to reverse his fortunes at Texas Motor Speedway.

After posting the fourth-fastest lap late in initial practice, Gordon drew a late qualifying position and used it to his advantage Friday, setting a speed of 191.117 miles per hour around the 1½-mile oval to capture the pole for Sunday's Dickies 500.

"Our efforts here have improved because we've really focused on it," Gordon said of the track. "They started with qualifying, and luckily last time they showed up in the race. ... So we certainly hope we can take this qualifying effort and create those types of results as well."

TMS hasn't always been kind to Gordon, but he was second last year in this race and followed that effort with his first win at the track in the spring. That victory broke a 47-race winless drought and gave him a victory at one of the two active tracks where the four-time series champion had never won. The other is Homestead, where the season finale is in two weeks.

Gordon also captured his first pole of the season, waiting until the third-to-last race to extend his streak of 17 consecutive seasons with a pole.

"We drew a great number, the track picks up here and the lap felt really, really good. I was definitely more aggressive with it and knew we were going to have to be, and it stuck," Gordon said. "But I just didn't know if it was enough. Unless you're wide-open all the way around, you just never know if it's going to be enough."

Kasey Kahne will roll off second in Sunday's race. Kurt Busch starts third, and Tony Stewart will be fourth.

Kyle Busch notches Truck Series win: It seems all Kyle Busch knows how to do lately is win.

Driving the Billy Ballew No. 51 Toyota, Busch captured the WinStar World Casino 350 on Friday and has now won five races in a row that he's entered in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

He has won seven of 13 races in the series this season, with 10 top-5s, and finished in the top 10 in all but one start. In his short career, Busch has won 50 percent of the Truck Series races he has entered.

Busch is also pushing to win the owner's title for Ballew. Coming to Texas, Ballew's No. 51 trailed the Kevin Harvick Inc. No. 33 truck driven by points leader Ron Hornaday by 100 points. With Hornaday finishing third and leading laps Friday night, the gap will close by just a handful of points.

Busch will start sixth in Saturday's O'Reilly Challenge and will be racing for his fourth straight Nationwide race win (fifth overall) at TMS.

Plano's Buescher finishes 17th in Truck Series: Plano native James Buescher, who will move into a full-time Nationwide Series ride in 2010 for James Finch Racing, finished 17th on the lead lap in the Trucks Series race. He also qualified 28th for Saturday's O'Reilly Challenge.

Starting next season, Buescher will run the full Nationwide schedule in the No. 1 Chevy car and 19 races for Turner Motorsport in the Truck Series.

Briefly ...

  • Matt Kenseth is on the pole for Saturday's O'Reilly Challenge Nationwide Series race, his second at TMS. Teammate David Ragan will start alongside Kenseth.
  • McKinney native Robert Richardson Jr. crashed during qualifying and will start 40th in Saturday's field. Jeff Burton was on the entry list to drive the No. 29 Holiday Inn car in the O'Reilly Challenge, but RCR teammate Casey Mears qualified the car for him at 14th.
  • The Sprint Cup Series will conduct two morning practice sessions Saturday, then the Nationwide cars will take to the track for the O'Reilly Challenge. Green flag is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.
  • Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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