Ryan Newman is unsinkable. For the eighth time this season, Newman sailed the No. 12 Dodge to the pole, this time with a track and event record lap. "The track wasn't as fast as I thought it would be," said Newman. "The guys at Penske Racing had...
Ryan Newman is unsinkable. For the eighth time this season, Newman sailed the No. 12 Dodge to the pole, this time with a track and event record lap.
"The track wasn't as fast as I thought it would be," said Newman. "The guys at Penske Racing had this ALLTEL Dodge fast right off the truck. I gave everything I had on the second lap. I didn't hold back on the first lap, but I gave it everything on the second lap."
Newman, fresh off his series-high eighth win of the year last weekend at Kansas, put his pedal to the metal to post his record lap of 186.657 mph.
"I wouldn't say I am surprised," Newman continued. "It just feels good for the team. It builds momentum, and we'll try to take that into Saturday night."
Of this week's gossip -- that Penske has somehow managed to gain a fuel advantage through the use of million-dollar testing models and wind tunnel results -- Newman was cagey. "Well, I have some oceanfront property in Arkansas too. There's nothing wrong with grinning when you are winning."
Jeff Gordon held the pole for most of the time-trial sessions with a lap of 186.207 mph, but lost the top spot when Newman bested him, going out 41rst of 47 racers. Gordon earned the outside pole.
"Sure it's frustrating," said Gordon of Newman's streak. "Of course you wanna be number one. But I am pretty happy to be on the front row."
Jimmie Johnson, who won the rain-shortened spring event here in May, qualified third with a lap of 185.497 mph.
"It's a great racecar," said Johnson who is running his race winning car from May. "It's been sitting in a corner waiting for us (to run this event). We're working hard and we are close. We are just fighting for it, and we'll see what happens."
Bill Elliott and Kevin LePage round out the top five. Brian Vickers, attempting to make his first ever Winston Cup event, starts 20th in the No. 60 Hendrick Chevrolet.
Point leader Matt Kenseth continues to have troubles again this week, he starts 29th. Kenseth, after a having a poor result after a crash at Kansas, lost a bit of his championship lead. He now sits just 259 points ahead of second place Kevin Harvick.
"It doesn't do me any good to worry about it because it's already done," said Kenseth of the run of bad luck. "You can't change anything that's already done, so we'll just go and do the best we can from here on forward."
Forty-seven cars attempted to qualify for the forty-three car field, failing to make the show were Mark Green (running the No. 14 for the injured Larry Foyt), Jeff Pultz, Hermie Sadler and Ken Schrader.