And afterwards, just about every driver except Gordon and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate and second-qualifier Jimmie Johnson went away angry after a chaotic and anxious qualifying session.
In the third and final qualifying round, Gordon and Johnson timed it just right, leaving pit road with one minute left in the five minute session, enough time for a single lap.
Gordon qualified at 201.293 miles per hour, the first time the Daytona 500 pole speed was above 200 mph since Bill Elliott's record run of 210.364 mph in 1987. Johnson's speed was 201.135 mph. (FOX Sports)