Jeff Gordon wins pole for his final Daytona 500
0:35 | NASCAR
Jeff Gordon wins pole for his final Daytona 500
Sunday February 15th, 2015

Jeff Gordon will race in his last Daytona 500 later this month while starting from the first position.

The three-time Daytona champion won the pole Sunday for this year's "Great American Race," posting a speed of 201.293 miles-per-hour, according to ESPN.  

Gordon announced earlier this year that he would not compete for a championship after the 2015 season. He did not specify that he would retire, leaving open the possibility that he could race beyond 2015 on a limited basis. He has specified, however, that this Daytona will be his last.

• Matt Kenseth wins Sprint Unlimited at Daytona

For the first time in more than half a century the qualifying was conducted in so-called "knockout rounds" in which all cars qualify for the race simultaneously instead of one at a time.

While Gordon and other drivers escaped a congested track and posted high speeds, several cars wrecked during the inaugural qualifying run.

The controversial format was criticized by driver Clint Boyer, whose car was involved in a five-car wreck.

Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmy Johnson qualified for the second position, and will join Gordon in the first row. 

- Will Green

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.