Newman posted hot lap to take Atlanta pole

Ryan Newman posted the hottest lap during time-trials for the NEXTEL Cup series event at Atlanta, running a 193.575 miles per hour. Newman seems to have returned to the form he had last season, where he earned a series- high 11 poles. This is ...

Ryan Newman posted the hottest lap during time-trials for the NEXTEL Cup series event at Atlanta, running a 193.575 miles per hour. Newman seems to have returned to the form he had last season, where he earned a series- high 11 poles. This is Newman's second pole of the season (Rockingham).

"I wouldn't say the track picked up speed," said Newman. "We picked up a little bit. It was a good run for the ALLTEL Dodge. I really like qualifying here, and I know some other guys do, too."

Newman improved on his morning practice time by almost two miles an hour to collect his 20th career up-front start. Newman went out first in the session and was never challenged.

"It's not the most fun thing going out first," said Newman. "But at least my job was done for the day. It wasn't a perfect lap, but I am not going to complain. I'd be really; really picky if I said it wasn't perfect."

The Hendrick stable of cars swept positions two through four, with Brian Vickers grabbing the outside pole followed by teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.

"Solid lap," commented Johnson who garnered his best qualifying spot of the season with a lap of 192.380 mph. "With the new softer tires you're really carrying a lot of speed.great effort."

It's a strong effort for all the Hendrick Chevy's but especially for Vickers, who is competing for rookie of the year honors this season. It is Vickers best Cup series career start, with a lap of 192.634 mph.

"Being twenty doesn't hurt any," said Vickers of his fast lap. "Not knowing when to lift. I am real happy with the guys and the qualifying effort we just need to work on our race program."

Elliott Sadler completes the top five qualifiers posting a lap of 191.344 mph.

Forty-four cars attempted to qualify for the forty-three car field, packing up and heading home is the No. 89 Dodge of Morgan Shepard.

Notably, positions one through forty-three were separated by almost 20- miles per hour; with the slowest qualifier posting a time of only 172.630 (Andy Belmont). NASCAR requires drivers to maintain a minimum speed during race conditions; drivers unable to meet that speed will be black-flagged. Race day minimum speed is announced by Managing Event Director, David Hoots in the Sunday morning driver's meeting.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Andy Belmont , Elliott Sadler