BROOKLYN, Mich. — The numbers keep climbing – and this time the rise was anything but gradual.

Jeff Gordon set the track qualifying record at Michigan International Speedway on Friday with a speed of 206.558 mph, winning his 76th career pole in the Sprint Cup series. Gordon broke the previous mark of 204.557 by a remarkable margin – and that record was set just two months ago by Kevin Harvick.

Speeds at MIS have been climbing ever since the two-mile oval was repaved before the 2012 season. When Marcos Ambrose reached 203.241 that year, it was the first time anyone won a pole at over 200 mph since Bill Elliott did it in 1987, before horsepower-sapping restrictor plates were introduced at Talladega and Daytona. Joey Logano broke Ambrose’s record last August, only for Harvick and Gordon to keep pushing it higher.

“I don’t know where to start,” Gordon said. “You can point at the repaving of the racetrack. This track is smooth – has a tremendous amount of surface area where the tire can get a lot of grip to it. The next thing is the cars.”