Speed demon Ryan Newman has seeming carved out a permanent spot at the top of the NEXTEL Cup series speed chart, scoring his third consecutive pole in Atlanta. Newman put down a lap of 191.575 mph to earn his series-high eighth pole of the season.
Newman took the top spot for Dodge by just 0.039 seconds over Joe Nemechek's Chevrolet, on his way to his 26th career Budweiser pole award. This is Nemechek's third top-two starting spot in his last five races.
"I gotta thank my whole team," said Nemechek. "They really stepped it up and it's showing in how we race and how we qualify."
Elliott Sadler was third, grabbing his eighth top-five start of the year. Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle complete the top five.
"I had a lot of grip," said Edwards. "That race track had a lot of grip. Hopefully we will get a good run on Sunday and I'm just having a blast. It's fun."
Fifty-eight cars attempted to qualify for the forty-three car field. Failing to make the show were Scott Wimmer, Scott Riggs, Kerry Earnhardt, Johnny Sauter, Hermie Sadler, Mike Wallace, Derrike Cope, Randy LaJoie, Greg Sacks, Larry Foyt, Kirk Shelmerdine, Morgan Shepard, Andy Belmont, Larry Hollenbeck and Kenny Wallace.
Notably, the Hendrick cars recovering from the tragedy of last weekends plane crash, qualified as follows: Jimmie Johnson, 8th; Jeff Gordon, 10th; Brian Vickers, 13th; and Terry Labonte, 42nd. It was one of the first weekends in recent years that Gordon was not booed by race fans, a resounding cheer rose from the crowd as the No. 24 Chevy took to the track for his time trial lap.