Ryan Newman didn't just land the Bud Pole at Phoenix International Raceway, he made history. With his sixth pole this year, Newman now holds the rookie pole record formerly held by the late Davey Allison. The record had stood since 1987, when ...
Ryan Newman didn't just land the Bud Pole at Phoenix International Raceway, he made history. With his sixth pole this year, Newman now holds the rookie pole record formerly held by the late Davey Allison. The record had stood since 1987, when Allison not only set the it but went on to win two races to take the NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year title.
The Penske Racing driver put his Ford on the pole with a speed of 132.655 miles per hour (27.138 seconds). "There's two things and they have been the same all year," said Newman. "You get a good starting position for track position and at the same time at some of these race tracks with a tight pit road you get good pit picking. You know for us that's pretty important."
Jimmie Johnson aids Newman's quest for Rookie of the Year as his season continues to implode. The Hendrick Motorsports driver will start 36th in his Chevy with a provisional.
John Andretti handed in his best qualifying effort starting on the front row alongside the rookie Newman. Andretti turned in a time of 27.152 in the Petty Enterprises Dodge for a speed of 132.587 miles-per-hour. Andretti missed the pole by scant 0.014 seconds.
"We unloaded and we were really good," said Andretti. "It's a pretty good lap. Usually Ryan beats everybody by two-tenths of a second so a couple hundredths is its fairly close. If we end up second it will be d?j? vu."
All the Petty cars had solid qualifying runs. Christian Fittipaldi, in his first ever qualifying attempt for his Winston Cup debut will rool off 17th in the No. 44 Petty Dodge. Kyle Petty will start next to him in 18th.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who has been on fire in the last several races attempting to nudge his way into the top ten in points, put in his best ever attempt in Phoenix and sits third on the grid in his DEI Chevy.
"Didn't feel like I ran as good as I could of. I made some mistakes and over drove the car and stuff," said Earnhardt. "I don't know whether the track is faster after the truck race they ran or not, so it's a good lap compared to the times in practice and we haven't really been great here before. We really worked hard on the car today and learned a lot. I think that's going to help us for the race and give us a good starting spot.I'm starting to like this place a little bit."
The Cup point leader Tony Stewart put the Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac in 16th on the grid. Ahead of him is Mark Martin, second in points. Martin's Roush Racing Ford will start seventh.
Martin has impressive stats at Phoenix, he has 11 top ten starts, 9 straight top eights including a win and 5 second place finishes. "The Viagra Taurus is going to be strong in the race," commented Martin. "This is a great car, I really like it. Gonna get a decent starting spot here and go after them like we did last week."
Rounding out the top ten are Jeff Gordon (4), Dave Blaney (5), Kenny Wallace (6), Joe Nemechek (8), Robby Gordon (9), and Jimmy Spencer (10).
Fifty-one cars attempted to qualify into the 43 car field. Failing to make the grid were Ted Musgrave, Brett Bodine, Jeff Jefferson, Jerry Robertson, Jack Sprague, and Morgan Shepard.
Mike Harmon crashed during practice and without a back-up car could not qualify. Lance Hooper blew an engine and crashed hard into the turn 1 wall. Hooper's wreck was serious enough to end practice early and deter Hooper from attempting to make the field.