Michigan Speedway qualifying summary

RYAN NEWMAN CAPTURES POLE FOR BATMAN BEGINS 400 AT MIS IN RECORD-SETTING FASHION BROOKLYN, Mich. - Whether or not there was going to be a track record established at Michigan International Speedway today during qualifying for tomorrow's NASCAR...

RYAN NEWMAN CAPTURES POLE FOR BATMAN BEGINS 400 AT MIS IN RECORD-SETTING FASHION

BROOKLYN, Mich. - Whether or not there was going to be a track record established at Michigan International Speedway today during qualifying for tomorrow's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Batman Begins 400 depended on the weather.

That, according to the procurer of poles, Ryan Newman.

The weather totally cooperated in that regard, clouds and coolness making for an extremely fast track. Newman responded accordingly, pole axing the previous record of 191.149 miles per hour, set by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., in August of 2000, with an incredible speed of 194.232 miles per hour.

A total of 26 drivers broke the previous record, after 30 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers toppled the previous mark, led by Kyle Busch, during qualifying today before the start of the Paramount Health Insurance 200.

"I would say 80 percent of it is a function of the weather," said Newman following his 32nd NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career pole, series-leading fifth this season and first at Michigan. "Usually it's 80, 85 degrees here, the sun is out and if you catch a cloud you're two tenths of a second faster.

"If it would have been a sunny day Casey (Mears) and I would have never had a shot at the pole, because it gets so much warmer as the day progresses. The track is very weather sensitive. I figured after seeing our qualifying draw yesterday we would have no shot at the pole."

Both Newman and Mears were among the last qualifiers after Tony Stewart had set the benchmark earlier in the session with a lap of 193.512 mph. Newman shoved Stewart's speed aside with ease and then withstood a charge by Mears, who posted a lap speed of 193.757 mph.

"This is, without a doubt, the best race track we come to race," Newman added. "It's an easy track to drive, but a great track to race."

Newman, sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver points, is seeking his third consecutive June race victory at Michigan tomorrow.

"We've got a really, really, really fast race car," Mears said. "The race car isn't going to be too much of a problem tomorrow, it's just going to be about us crossing the 't's' and dotting the 'i's,' doing everything right and just have a good, solid run.

Earnhardt, Jr's struggles continued. He qualified 42nd in the 43-car field with a speed of 188.260 mph.

-mis-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Ryan Newman