Newman quickest at Pocono

POCONO, Pa. - Hot shoe Ryan Newman laid down a lightning quick lap of 170.358 mph to land his fifth Bud pole of the year, and 12th of his career. Newman's lap flattened the competition running almost a mile-per-hour faster than the rest of the ...

POCONO, Pa. - Hot shoe Ryan Newman laid down a lightning quick lap of 170.358 mph to land his fifth Bud pole of the year, and 12th of his career. Newman's lap flattened the competition running almost a mile-per-hour faster than the rest of the field. The twenty-five year old South Bend, Indiana native has already put three wins in the record books this season and sits 13th in series standings.

"It wasn't the best lap like I wanted," said Newman. "But we got it pretty close today. It's important to start out front, but if you can't get to the end it doesn't do you any good."

"It's the same Dodge we had here in June," continued Newman. "We didn't dent it in the last race and we had a pretty fast car. We got caught back in the track position game and still came home in the top five. We'll see what we can do to make it better for the race."

Johnson in the No. 48 Chevy posted a lap of 169.821 mph to secure the outside pole. It is Johnson's third top-two start in three attempts at Pocono. Johnson is fresh off his second win of the season last week in New Hampshire.

"It's a great effort for the Lowe's team," said Johnson. "To come back here and be as competitive as we were in the spring, a month ago we had this pole - different roles this time, Ryan's got the pole this time, and I'm second. I'm looking to improve on the race run we had last time, I think we finished 12th. It wasn't a very good day for us in the whole.

"So we're looking forward to Sunday's race, we are trying a whole new set- up, a whole new package. One thing I am excited about for my race team, at this point in the year we are starting to hit our peak. Starting to be more and more competitive, last year we peaked out real early and I was struggling at the end of the year.to win last weekend and have a great car all weekend long.I am very exited about the rest of the year."

Elliott Sadler produces his best career start at Pocono. The No. 38 Ford will take the green flag from the third position. Previously, Sadler's best start at Pocono was 9th at the June race this year.

"This is a great racecar, it's the car I ran in Chicago," said Sadler. "We finished in the top ten, its running good here again this weekend. I am looking forward to good things. I think I've got just as good as a chance as anybody to win this race. It's not the same car we had here the first race, yes that was a good racecar; but not good enough to win. So, we brought back a different racecar, we think this one is good enough to win and we're going to try and get it adjusted as best we can tomorrow and see what happens Sunday."

Bobby Labonte makes his twenty-second start at Pocono this weekend rolling off from the fourth place. The track at Pocono seems well suited to Labonte, he has three wins and six top tens at the 2.5-mile triangle. It is Labonte's ninth top-ten start this season.

"We ran a lot of practice early on and had a lot of troubles because the track was under caution for a long period of time," said Labonte. "We really didn't get a lot of good laps, and that put us behind for a qualifying run. When we did, we still weren't very good so we threw some stuff at it and tried it...we talked about it, made the right changes and picked up a second."

John Andretti entered Pocono, as the active driver with the worst record at Pocono Raceway. In nineteen starts, Andretti has never posted a top-ten finish, his best result was a 12th place in 1998. Perhaps Andretti's luck is about to change. Andretti posted a lap of 168.925 mph to round out the top five.

Andretti is making his second start for the HAAS CNC Racing No. 0 Pontiac; Andretti took over the ride after the team released Jack Sprague from his contract a few weeks ago due to poor performance. Andretti was released earlier this season from the No. 43 Petty Enterprises Ford.

"I didn't do as well as I would have liked," said Andretti. "If I had been here all year, I could have gotten a little more, but I wanted a clean lap."

Championship point leader Matt Kenseth motors the No. 17 Ford from ninth position.

"That was a good lap," commented Kenseth. "Some of those guys picked up more than I though they would, but that was a good lap."

Forty-four competitors attempted to make the forty-three car field, failing to make the show was the No. 4 Morgan-McClure Pontiac piloted by Brett Bodine.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Ryan Newman , Jack Sprague , Elliott Sadler