Newman leads Chevrolet drivers to start third in the Charlotte 500

CONCORD, NC. – Oct. 11, 2012 – Ryan Newman posted the third fastest qualifying lap for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in his No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet with a lap of 27.943 seconds, 193.251 mph. It marks his 17th top-10 start at Charlotte Motor Speedway; and his 18th in 31 races this season.

Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Greg Biffle (Ford) was the pole winner, Mark Martin (Toyota) qualified second, Clint Bowyer (Toyota) will start 4th and five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson qualified his No. 48 MyLowe’s Chevy fifth to round out the top five starting positions.

Team Chevy’s Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet and Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevy will start from the 10th and 11th positions, respectively. Jeff Gordon will start his No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy in the 13th spot, giving Team Chevy five of the top-13 starters on Saturday’s grid.

Making his first qualifying run in the No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevy, Kurt Busch will roll off 21st. Temporarily substituting for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is sitting out two races due to a concussion, Regan Smith drove the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy to a 26th starting spot.

Defending champion Tony Stewart will start from the 32nd position in his No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet. In all, there will be 16 Team Chevys in the field for Saturday night’s race, which gets underway at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be aired live on ABC-TV.


YOU ARE ONE OF THE BEST QUALIFIERS IN THE BUSINESS RIGHT NOT AND CERTAINLY TURNED IN ANOTHER FAST LAP OUT THERE TONIGHT. PLEASE TALK ABOUT YOUR RACE CAR AND YOUR OUTLOOK FOR SATURDAY NIGHT. “Just mostly I’m proud of my guys. We came from 15th and made the right adjustments on the race car to bring it up to third. The pace picked up a good bit. We picked up a half a second from what we practiced. But, it was a good run for our Quicken Loans Chevrolet and a good start for the race, obviously, but a good start to the weekend for us, which is important here at home.”

WHY WAS TONIGHT A TRACK RECORD NIGHT? ARE YOU MORALLY OPPOSED TO THE 50TH POLE OR ARE YOU JUST POSTPONING GETTING THAT? “Well, I waited 70-some races for my next win and it was the 50th running of the Daytona 500, so I guess I’m waiting for something special I don’t know about yet (laughs). But it was so fast. The track was fast. I think a part of it is obviously we made adjustments to our race cars to make them better, but the track itself never really got hot. It hasn’t gotten hot for the last three or four days. And the track is so temperature-sensitive and I think when we were practicing today, the track was 91 degrees or something like that; which for asphalt is not very hot. So when it came time to cooling off, it didn’t have to cool off much to pick-up the grip versus some other times when it was cooling off from 120 (degrees) down to 85 (degrees). Tonight was like 91 to 71 or something like that.”

D HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP? “It was a good lap for our Quicken Loans/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Chevrolet. I got everything I could out of it. I got just a little bit free getting into (turn) three had to counter steer just a little bit which just kind of cost me a little bit of confidence off of (turn) four. They said I had a good lap going. The guys did a good job today. We will keep working on it.”


WAS THAT AS FAST AS IT LOOKED? "You can look at the watch and say yes that's fast. But after you climb out of one of these things after making a lap, you get a true opinion and appreciation of what fast is. My car was great and I was fourth. When they told me I was fourth, I said 'you've got to be kidding me'. So Greg (Biffle) laid one down. I was teasing him a little bit ago that he must have wanted that awfully bad because I felt like I did and put in a very solid lap and came in fourth so far. Great night for the Lowes car, the MyLowes car I should say. I hope our Chevrolet is this good on Saturday night. I think we'll be in great shape."

WE USED TO REFER TO THIS AS JIMMIE'S HOUSE BUT IT HAS BEEN THREE YEARS SINCE YOU WON A POINTS RACE: "We hope so. We've been very competitive since the track surface changed, but the advantage we had is gone. We're still very competitive here. If anything, it has tipped the hand towards Kasey Kahne. This track has really worked well for him over the years. We hope to find our magic here this weekend. The All Star Race (May, 2012) was old 48 car fashion here. In the (Coke) 600 we had a very strong car. But since they repaved this race track, we've been one of maybe three or four, maybe five guys you can count on winning. But the old surface we had something on everybody. I don't know if it was me, the car or a combination of both probably. But we had something really cool going on there."


HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP? “It felt good. It felt really good the car felt great. We had a good practice today. Everything is good it’s just everyone was fast tonight so we got beat by eight, nine cars. It felt really good with the car and the speed and the grip. I’m looking forward to Saturday night.”


HOW IS YOUR RACE CAR THIS WEEK? "It was definitely free. Our Jimmy Johns Chevrolet, our guys did a lot of race trim stuff today trying to try a few different things, and we had to rush our qualifying stuff there. We took a good stab at it there and got an okay lap, but it was definitely as free as I'd like, I can't really tell you exactly what we have for Saturday night, because I don't think we really know. But we have a direction. We knew we needed some more speed so we had to go a different direction. In order to do that, we had to turn the first 45 minutes of that practice session into a practice session to try a few different things."

CAN YOU START ON GETTING THINGS IN ORDER FOR NEXT SEASON RIGHT NOW? "Not really because we really don't know what the rules are yet. We have the basic template of the body, but we don't have steel bodies yet to put real bodies on them yet. So we can kind of do the basics, and have a better structure and plan and things in the shop. Those are the things we can work on right now."


HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP? “It was a little disappointing. To be as good as we were in practice and not be able to pick up more I just couldn’t get the throttle down, just a little bit too free.”


HOW HAS THE TRANSITION BEEN? "It's been great. Todd Berrier leads these guys. The car had so much more in it, I was just so nervous on when to turn in; when it would stick; when the rear end wants to kick out. There are so many timing things that these cars that these cars have evolved this last year, I have to get caught back up."


ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP: "I was probably trying a little too hard. It was an okay lap. Our Target Chevy ... everybody at Chip Ganassi Racing and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing have been working so hard the last few weeks, and getting the cars better. We fell behind, and we know we have got to work on them really hard. We have Target as our sponsor this week and we have Kellogg's on board as well. We are having a little barbeque with the guys. We are having a tailgate with some of the fans in the morning. So a lot of cool things with having Target on board. I'm glad we are making progress."


HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP? “It was not as good as we would have hoped for. I felt like after practice we were going to have a shot at definitely a top 10 maybe a little better. Just got loose when I got down into (turn) one. The car set down and I just got extremely loose. It happens unfortunately, didn’t want it to happen tonight. We will work hard and get this thing perfect tomorrow so that when we go out to race we don’t have to worry about anything.”


ON HIS QUALIFYING: "The Phoenix Chevy was pretty good. I think I'm probably behind the car, the car is pretty good. For me, it was just trying to get out there and put a good lap in, but not do anything stupid. I think we have a pretty good car. So we will just work on it tomorrow; we'll have a good car for Saturday night."

Source: Team Chevy Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Regan Smith , Chip Ganassi , Clint Bowyer , Mark Martin
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Stewart-Haas Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing
Article type Qualifying report
Tags allmendinger, busch, chevrolet, gordon, haas, harvick, johnson, kahne, montoya, newman, smith, stewart