Jeff Gordon responded to his mini-slump the way any champion would. He won the pole position for the next race.
Coming off a pair of disappointing finishes, the three-time Winston Cup titlist topped qualifying for the New England 300 on Friday, racing his Chevrolet around the 1.058-mile track at 131.770 mph. It was Gordon's fifth pole of the season, the best on the Winston Cup circuit, and his third at New Hampshire.
Still looking for his first victory this year, Mark Martin was second at 131.724 mph in a Ford. Jeremy Mayfield (131.715) and Bobby Hamilton (131.302) earned spots in the second row for Sunday's race.
AUTO PARTS 250: Greg Biffle turned a lap at 132.357 mph to take the pole for tonight's BGN race in Madison, Ill. The Ford driver, the 1999 Craftsman Truck Series winner on the 1.25-mile oval, is second in the season standings behind Kevin Harvick.
HARRAH'S 500: Series points leader Kenny Brack was fastest on a long, hot day of practice, turning a lap of 226.351 mph on the 2-mile oval for the race at Michigan International Speedway _ apparently the last time CART will race at a track that has been part of its schedule since Champ cars began competition in 1979. Max Papis, Brack's Team Rahal teammate, was second at 226.038.
HARRAH'S 200: Greg Ray took his fourth pole as light rain and humidity kept cars from hitting 200 mph in qualifying for the Indy Racing League race. He edged points leader Sam Hornish Jr. by turning a lap of 199.922, while Hornish (199.750) will start beside him on the front row. Hornish had been fastest in practice at 201.037.
NEW ENGLAND 200: Jack Sprague dominated again in qualifying, winning his fifth pole and setting the track record for the NASCAR Craftsman Trucks event in Loudon. Sprague lapped at 128.091 mph in his Chevrolet, becoming the first driver this year to break a track record in qualifying. Bobby Hamilton was second in a Dodge at 126.964 mph.
MILE-HIGH NATIONALS: Gary Scelzi led Top Fuel qualifying at Morrison, Colo., with a quarter-mile of 4.646 seconds at 315.64 mph. Bruce Sarver (Funny Car), Bruce Allen (Pro Stock) and Antron Brown (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also led their divisions.
SCHUMACHER IMPROVES: Michael Schumacher is ready to drive again after a crash at about 185 mph during test runs at Monza in Italy. He plans to compete in Sunday's German Grand Prix.