Newman gets Texas pole, then crashes

Ryan Newman grabbed the pole at Texas Motor Speedway but he won't be starting from the top. Newman posted a 192.947 mph on his first lap (which was good for the pole) but chose to make a second pass. Bad decision. Newman lost the No. 12 Dodge...

Ryan Newman grabbed the pole at Texas Motor Speedway but he won't be starting from the top. Newman posted a 192.947 mph on his first lap (which was good for the pole) but chose to make a second pass.

Bad decision.

Newman lost the No. 12 Dodge coming through turns three and four, smacking the wall. Newman does have two practices Saturday to get the back-up car up to snuff for Sunday's event. No matter though, Newman will have to drop to the rear and start the Dickies 500 in a backup car.

"Something broke in the right front," explained Newman. "I'm not sure what it was. It was a great effort for our Alltel Dodge guys. We picked up speed, and we're doing the right things. Something just happened, and I don't know what it was. That's part of it. We've struggled this year. This is a good opportunity to prove that we can do better."

It is Newman's eighth pole of the season and 35th of his career.

"Texas is another great opportunity for us to gain," said Newman who is currently fifth in Chase points. "We've got to fix the things that aren't right and be more competitive in race trim."

Jeff Gordon's relationship with new crew chief Steve LeTarte continues to pay dividends. The No. 24 Chevy will take the green flag from the outside pole. Texas is one of the few tracks were Gordon has never earned a victory.

"As far as we are concerned things are going great," Gordon commented. "I feel like we are having a lot of fun out there because we really don't have a lot of pressure on us. We've gotten some race cars together that have been really strong. The team has been on top of their game and communication is good.

"Things are going our way, so we are having a lot of fun right now."

Matt Kenseth will start third. It is Kenseth's fifth top-five start of the Chase races.

"I think we still have a chance," said Kenseth of the title. "Obviously, our chance is not as good as the guys that are closer. But, we still have an outside shot."

Joe Nemechek and Jeremy Mayfield complete the top five.

"I'm really proud of this entire U.S. Army team," Nemechek said. "They are strong - just like all those soldiers out there. We've had a tough year, but man we're going to be tough too.

"It's a good day."

NASCAR Nextel Chase for the Championship leader Tony Stewart starts 16th,"We picked up a little bit in qualifying, which I didn't know if we could pick up any more than we ran there. But, the guys did an awesome job. It is the same car we ran the Brickyard with, so it will drive good this weekend.

"We've just got to get through the motions and get through today. I wish we didn't get the early draw (for time trials) that we did. But, it should be a good car for the whole weekend."

Jimmie Johnson who trails Stewart by 43 points rolls the No. 48 Chevy off 11th.

Forty-nine drivers attempted to qualify for the forty-three car field; failing to make the show were Carl Long (who wrecked during practice), Reed Sorenson, Stuart Kirby, Johnny Sauter, PJ Jones and Robby Gordon (who blew an engine on his time trial lap).

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Joe Nemechek , Robby Gordon , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Stuart Kirby , Johnny Sauter , Carl Long