Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent
Newman gets pole after rain delay; Kahne, Vickers to start 2nd & 3rd
Ryan Newman turned a lap of 28.213 seconds around New Hampshire Motor Speedway in his No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet on Friday to claim the pole starting spot for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Red Bull Racing claimed the second and third positions on the starting grid, with Kasey Kahne posting a qualifying time of 28.263 seconds in the No. 4 Toyota to start alongside Newman on the front row and Brian Vickers getting the No. 83 Toyota around NHMS in 28.287 seconds for the third starting spot.
The track dryers probably put a little bit of heat back into the race track that the rain kind of washed out.
Rain temporarily suspended qualifying after 40 of the 45 cars entered made their attempts. At the time of the red flag, the five fastest cars in first practice -- the No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet of Juan Montoya, the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson, the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon, Kahne’s No. 4 and Newman’s No. 39 -- had yet to attempt qualifying laps.
“I think because of the conditions -- it was cloudy all day -- the track dryers probably put a little bit of heat back into the race track that the rain kind of washed out, so I think it all kind of averaged out,” Newman said, thinking that the cars that went out after the shower weren’t at an advantage or disadvantage compared to everyone who went out before the rain set in.
When the rain halted qualifying, Vickers was on the provisional pole, with the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Greg Biffle alongside on the front row after Biffle turned a qualifying lap of 28.300 seconds.
Gordon’s 28.390-second lap was good enough for seventh, and Johnson claimed the 10th starting spot with a lap time of 28.408 seconds. Despite being the fast five in first practice, only Kahne and Newman were able to beat all who went out before the rain.
Biffle fell back to the fourth spot on the starting grid by the end of qualifying. Kurt Busch’s 28.343-second lap in the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge was good enough for the fifth spot.
“I left a little bit out there in turn two,” Biffle said. “We’ll see how many of these guys beat us here at the end, but it’s a great car and I’m real excited about Sunday.”
All 10 cars that had to get into the race on speed were within the first 16 cars to go out for qualifying laps. The two drivers who failed to post fast enough laps to get into the race were Steve Park and T.J. Bell.