Newman paces the field in Phoenix

Ryan Newman paced Nextel Cup teams with a lap of 131.598 mph during final practice at Phoenix Internationa Raceway. Newman ran his quick lap late in the session as the sun went down and the track temperatures began to cool. "It was a great run...

Ryan Newman paced Nextel Cup teams with a lap of 131.598 mph during final practice at Phoenix Internationa Raceway. Newman ran his quick lap late in the session as the sun went down and the track temperatures began to cool.

"It was a great run for us," said Newman. "Hopefully we can come in here tomorrow and go for the pole."

Joe Nemechek posted the second quickest lap charting a 131.454 mph.

"I love night racing -- not because I'm home on Sunday -- but because racing under the lights really gets my Adrenalin pumping," said Nemechek. "I'm really excited that five of our next six races will be at night."

Nemechek's best finish at Phoenix was a 12th last November.

"There is absolutely no excuse for not having a better career record at Phoenix," said Nemechek. "The track is a combination of Richmond and New Hampshire and those are two venues that I have had success at. I have a good feeling that this will be the weekend to snap that Phoenix jinx."

Dave Blaney was third fastest with a lap of 131.272 mph.

"It was a good practice for us," said Blaney. "I feel good about the car we have for Saturday night."

Kurt Busch and Bobby Labonte complete the top five.

"I feel good about Phoenix this weekend," said Busch. "Phoenix is a track where I have a lot of experience from my Southwest Tour Series and Truck days. With good finishes in the past there our IRWIN team is poised for a top five run there. Running under the lights is always more exciting, and Phoenix is one of those short tracks that is going to look great under the lights.

"It will be interesting to see what changes as far as track grips and visibility with shadows on the track, so there are a few unknowns. But it will be exciting."

Cup cars qualify for position tomorrow afternoon at 3:10 PM Mountain time.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Joe Nemechek , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Dave Blaney