Rain Robs Newman NOTE: Rain robbed Ryan Newman of a shot at winning his fifth straight pole and tying Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough for the most consecutive poles in the circuit's modern era. Newman captured his ninth pole of the season...
Rain Robs Newman
NOTE: Rain robbed Ryan Newman of a shot at winning his fifth straight pole and tying Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough for the most consecutive poles in the circuit's modern era. Newman captured his ninth pole of the season and third straight overall Bud Pole Award last week at Phoenix. Newman's pole streak began at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Oct. 14 with a record lap of 188.877 mph. He followed that with a record run at Martinsville at 97.043 mph, a 191.575 pole lap at Atlanta and another record lap of 135.854 mph last week at Phoenix. Newman has won 27 poles in 114 starts. Richard Petty holds the pole record with 126 poles in 1,185 starts. Newman is averaging nine poles a season and at that rate would equal Petty's record in 14 seasons. It took Petty 34 years to accumulate 126 poles.
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge)
"There's nothing you can do about it. I wish we could have gone for the pole, but you can't fix a wet racetrack. We'll just have to go on. I wish we could have stuck around and done it under the lights, but I understand the truck race schedule. Hopefully we'll be around long enough to get another opportunity. It did take the rain to beat Ryan Newman, at least for five in a row. It won't count for five in a row if we win the pole next week at Homestead, and that's fine. We'll still be on the pole if we run fast enough.
"We'll have to keep the average first, and I don't know about the 14 years part, but keeping that average is not going to be easy. Nine poles a year is huge when you only have 36 races. That's a quarter of the races every year. That would be a really big deal. It would be a realistic deal to shoot for, but we're just going to keep doing our best. Hopefully we can come close.
"I'm not sure about the whole situation (of changing qualifying) next year. I'm not real happy about it, at least the way I understand it right now. If that's what NASCAR decides to do, we'll show up and play. We're supposed to practice on Friday and practice and qualify on Saturday the way I understand it. Maybe we can make a top 10 race to qualify or something where people get eliminated. If you can't qualify in the top 10, then you can't qualify the rest of the year after the first 26 races.
"I've always said we spend an entire day for qualifying. There should be some kind of reward for it. I think there's potential for awarding points for qualifying. What goes around comes around in this sport, whether it's qualifying and the draw or the weather or opportunities. I think it's something that should be looked at.
"We ended up having a lot of early draws this year at places like Charlotte where it's disadvantageous. We got the short end of the stick that day, and it's happened a few other times this year.
"We've proved we've got a fast racecar, and it would be a big feather in our caps if we could win the last Southern 500. We've got a shot at it. We've finished second here before and had a lot of top five and top 10 runs. We were third in the spring after coming back from a lap down. We hit the kill switch in this race last year and we hit the cones coming in the pits in the spring. I've bit myself twice, and we'll try not to get bit again.
"You just can't change it. There's no getting around it. We were two tenths faster than Mark Martin in practice, but that's the way it is. Kasey Kahne was going to go out last and he was third fastest in practice, so there would have been some drama to it because he won the pole here in the spring. I know we had a fast racecar, and we could have gone faster. We learned some stuff about the balance in the car today. It's the same car we had at Charlotte, so it wasn't a completely wasted day. We'll just go on to tomorrow and hope it's sunny like it's supposed to be."