In NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifications at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Ryan Newman rocketed to the pole position for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 with a record speed of 136.497 miles per hour.
Newman aced his second pole in 2013 and the 51st in his fast-paced career. Also, he scored his seventh pole at NHMS. He drove the Quicken Loans Chevrolet fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing.
Said Newman, “This is the birthplace of track position, and I strongly feel that it is. Qualifying well give you No. 1 pit stall, clean air and all the things that go along with it. But the most important is the confidence that you know you have the fastest race car. Our car was good today. We unloaded in qualifying trim and kept making it faster and faster. Although I didn’t feel like I had a lot of speed in my laps, the car was balanced and the speed came when the track cooled down.”
Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon took second and place honors with speeds of 136.082 and 136.053 mph, respectively.
“We went out early and had a pretty good lap,” Kahne commented. “I thought I missed it a little bit off turn 2 but I got through turn 3 and 4 really, getting beat right here at the end. It was a good lap for our team and I am looking forward to practice tomorrow.”
Gordon’s opening lap was not good, and he was thrilled with his second lap. “I was planning on trying to get it done on the first lap, but I came off turn 4 wiggling and sliding. At that point, it was all about re-grouping and putting a second lap together,” Gordon said. “It feels good that we are picking things up after an up and down season. If you ever want to peak, you want to do it when the Chase comes around,” Gordon said.
The three fastest qualifiers broke Brad Keselowski’s two-month old record of 135.922 mph. Today’s record marked the 16th time this season that a qualifying record was set.
Kurt Busch earned the fourth fastest time, giving Chevrolet-powered cars the top-four qualifying spots.
The fifth and sixth fastest qualifiers were Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano with Paul Menard and Kevin Harvick next in line.
Chicagoland winner Matt Kenseth claimed the ninth starting position ahead of Greg Biffle.
Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch trailed in 11th and 12th.
Other Chase notables were Clint Bowyer 16th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. 17th.
All 43 entrants made the starting field.
The Sylvania 300 takes the green flag at 2 p.m. ET, and it will be telecast by ESPN.