Ryan Newman hauled the No. 12 Penske Dodge around the Atlanta Motor Speedway at breakneck speed, charting a 191.417 mph and landing his eighth career Bud Pole. This is Newman's fourth pole in the last nine races. "It's kind of cool cause it's a...
Ryan Newman hauled the No. 12 Penske Dodge around the Atlanta Motor Speedway at breakneck speed, charting a 191.417 mph and landing his eighth career Bud Pole. This is Newman's fourth pole in the last nine races.
"It's kind of cool cause it's a flip from last year," said Newman. "Bill was first and I was second. I'm proud of the Alltel guys and Dodge having the front row. It was great teamwork. We worked on it and worked on it and worked on it. We were fast off the truck, but it was pretty neat to be fast on the track. We went out there and did the best we could, and it was good enough today.
"There's always satisfaction when you are on the pole," Newman continued. It doesn't matter who you beat as long as you beat everybody in mind. It was one of those things where I'm just happy to be on top."
Joining Newman on the front row will be Bill Elliott making it a Dodge front row.
"We didn't know where the new body would be, and we feel like we've learned some things the last few weeks," said Elliott. "We need to get started on a good season. I might be getting too old for this. I can't hold my breath that long anymore."
Rounding out the top ten are Elliott Sadler, Bobby LaBonte, Jimmy Spencer, Michael Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch and Jeremy Mayfield.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will make his worst start in Atlanta since 2001, when he started 23rd. Earnhardt had a close call in turn 1, and will have to take a provisional and start 37th. Earnhardt lost control of the No. 8 DEI Chevy coming into the turn, and the car turned almost completely sideways before he was able to gather it up and proceed.
His first lap was just 180 mph, and his second lap would only improve by 3 mph; significantly slower than Newman's top speed. Earnhardt, however, was just glad that he managed to get his car back to the garage unruffled.
"We were just a few inches from the backup car," Earnhardt said. "I'm glad we've got the car still in one piece.
"We tried some stuff that didn't work," Earnhardt said. "We were really, really loose. It's a good thing it was just qualifying," he said. "We've got a long day Sunday. We'll make it back up."
After missing the show last week, Greg Biffle is the highest starting rookie this weekend in 20th.
Four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon's season continues it's downward spiral. After posting the 11th fastest time in practice, Gordon was not able to match those speeds during qualifying.
Gordon, who has 42 career poles, will start 30th on Sunday.