Newman on pole at Atlanta again

Ryan Newman earned his series-high ninth Bud pole of the season at the Atlanta Motor Speedway Friday night. Newman's lap of 194.295 mph was his fastest effort of the year, and earned Newman his second straight Atlanta pole award. "That's pretty...

Ryan Newman earned his series-high ninth Bud pole of the season at the Atlanta Motor Speedway Friday night. Newman's lap of 194.295 mph was his fastest effort of the year, and earned Newman his second straight Atlanta pole award.

"That's pretty quick," Newman said. "It wasn't a perfect lap -- we were a little off on our balance. I thought we could have been a tick quicker, but it was pretty good."

The lap was the third fastest in the history of AMS; Newman is only eclipsed by Geoffrey Bodine (1997) and Bobby Labonte (1999). The lap gives Newman the 16th pole of his career.

The ninth pole ties Newman with teammate Rusty Wallace on the all-time list. Wallace was the last driver with nine poles in one season, in 2000. Cale Yarborough holds the modern-era record, with 14 awards in 1980.

Bobby Labonte was second with a lap of 194.016 mph, just 0.041 second off Newman's time-trial speed.

"A late draw was good because as it got cooler, the grip got better," Labonte said. "That was an awesome lap for us. That was as fast as we could go."

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the last car to qualify, scored third.

"That's pretty good," said Earnhardt. "The car was good enough for the pole, but the driver needed a little more experience. We'll know better next time. Ryan's time was hard to beat, that was a fast, fast lap."

Busch series point leader Brian Vickers, making just his second Winston Cup attempt, starts fourth.

"The main thing was to go out there, hold your line, and cross your fingers," said Vickers of the advice he received from Hendrick teammates before his qualifying lap. "It's an awesome track. I'm glad to be here at Atlanta."

Bill Elliott rounds out the top five.

"I'm just glad it's over," said Elliott. "I didn't lift. It's so much different from qualifying to racing here. It's a different world. Qualifying at night didn't bother me, night, day, whatever it takes. I'm glad we're not racing here at night."

Championship point leader Matt Kenseth was forced to take a provisional and will start 37th. Kenseth leads the series by 240 points. Second place racer in points, Kevin Harvick, rolls off tenth.

"It was just all over the place," said Kenseth of his effort. "It felt like we had 100-lap tires on it. It was terrible."

Kenseth can clinch the Winston Cup trophy by placing 12th or better in the last four races of the season.

Forty-nine drivers attempted to qualify for the forty-three car field, failing to make the show were Jeff Green, Buckshot Jones, Larry Foyt, Mike Wallace, Billy Bigley and Shelby Howard.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bill Elliott , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Geoffrey Bodine , Kevin Harvick , Jeff Green , Buckshot Jones , Ryan Newman , Larry Foyt , Billy Bigley , Shelby Howard , Brian Vickers