Newman on pole at "The Lady in Black"

Newman on pole at "The Lady in Black"

Ryan Newman earned his sixth pole of the season, and 13th of his career at the 1.366-mile track at Darlington. Newman's hot lap of 169.048 mph secured his first ever Darlington pole. "The guys did a great job with the car," said Newman. "We were...

Ryan Newman earned his sixth pole of the season, and 13th of his career at the 1.366-mile track at Darlington. Newman's hot lap of 169.048 mph secured his first ever Darlington pole.

"The guys did a great job with the car," said Newman. "We were struggling through two hours of practice, and we finally got a decent lap in. It wasn't a good lap time, but it was a good run and I really enjoy this racetrack. I've got a good team, and I've been able to keep it out of the fence here. That's a pretty good combination."

Ryan Newman.
Photo by Michael C. Johnson.
"We cut a good enough lap to beat Jimmie (Johnson)," Newman continued. "He had a good car too. We just look forward to the Southern 500. It's a big race and neat to be on the pole for the last one. It's definitely special. I want to thank Buddy Baker for all the things he's done to help me, especially getting around this place. It's definitely a historical place, and I had some legendary help with our team."

Jimmie Johnson scored his fifth top five this season with a lap of 168.862 mph, good enough to start the No. 48 Chevy on the outside pole.

"It was a good run for us," said Johnson. "We didn't get to be on the pole very long before Ryan came out and knocked us down, but we have a good car here and this is one of my best tracks."

Terry Labonte posted his best Darlington start since 1995, in third. The 1980 race winner posted a lap of 168.538 mph.

Elliott Sadler, in the No. 38 Ford, rolls off fourth after a lap of 168.451 mph, "I was pretty happy with the lap. We made a lot of adjustments for qualifying and the driver just drove over his head a little bit. I drove in a little bit too hard into three and left some on the table, so I should have run a tenth or so faster. I was just trying too hard."

Bobby Labonte closes out the top five with his time of 168.227 mph.

Championship points leader Matt Kenseth motors off sixth. Kenseth is defending 351-point lead in series rankings.

"I haven't run very good at Darlington for probably three years," said Kenseth. "When I first came here we always ran good, but for about three years we haven't run good at all..I'm pretty happy with that."

Jimmy Spencer, returning to the series after a one race suspension for punching fellow competitor Kurt Busch in Michigan, smacked the wall and did not make his time trial lap. He takes a provisional and starts 38th.

"We got in the corner and got a little loose," said Spencer. "We put the power back to it and headed back up the track. It was a little hot and slick and we got loose. It's pretty special (recent fan support). I can't believe how supportive they are of the incident that happened in the past (Kurt Busch).

"We're not worried about that now. We're at Darlington. We had a really good car. We're going to a back-up now. We tore it all to pieces. We made a mistake."

Jeff Green, making his final appearance in the No. 1 DEI Chevrolet, starts 35th. Green was hired in May after Steve Park was released from that ride, but his contract ends this weekend. John Andretti will drive the Monte Carlo next weekend at Richmond, and possibly for the remainder of the season.

Forty-four cars attempted to qualify for the forty-three car field. Failing to qualify was the Dodge of Larry Foyt.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Steve Park , Jimmy Spencer , Jeff Green , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Larry Foyt , Jimmie Johnson , Elliott Sadler , Buddy Baker