Newman takes Loudon pole
Date published : 16 Jul 2011 - 00:11:08
Ryan Newman claimed his 47th NASCAR Sprint Cup career pole position with a record-breaking lap in qualifying at Loudon, as his team-mate Tony Stewart ensured the Stewart Haas outfit's maiden front row sweep.
Newman was among the last drivers in the order after setting the third fastest time in morning practice, beaten only by Stewart and Richard Childress Racing's Clint Bowyer.
While many took a second qualifying lap to extract the most out of their cars, Newman's first flying lap was enough to beat the benchmark set by Michael Waltrip Racing's David Reutimann. Stewart came close to his team-mate's lap immediately afterwards, while Bowyer, a two-time winner at the track, was unable to match their pace, ending up only 12th in the order.
Newman's laptime of 28.165 seconds at an average speed of 135.232 mph is a new record for the one-mile flat oval, while another 11 drivers were able to run under the previous mark set by Penske's Brad Keselowski last September. A new softer tyre specification selected by Goodyear for this weekend's event helped times tumble.
"It's been such a long drought for me to win a pole but I'm just really excited for this weekend," said Newman after claiming his fifth career pole at Loudon and his second of the week as he was also the fastest qualifier for a Modifieds event on Thursday.
"This has been a track that's been really good for me for firsts and I'm looking for that first win [of the season] again. It's extremely important here to start up front, it's a big track-position race, it's a relatively short race if you look at the mileage and the way the fuel stops work out. We've got a good start, we just need to have a good finish for the team.
"I want to get that victory on Sunday, that's what I'm thinking about."
Reutimann ended up third in the order while Penske's Kurt Busch was fourth fastest ahead of his team-mate Keselowski, who stood on provisional pole for a while. Bowyer's team-mate Jeff Burton, Hendrick Motorsports' Jeff Gordon, Earnhardt Ganassi's Juan Pablo Montoya and RCR's Paul Menard rounded out a top 10 dominated by Chevrolet Impalas.
Points leader Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) qualified only 19th in the order, right behind RCR rival Kevin Harvick, while Roush Fenway's Greg Biffle was 20th on his first weekend with new crew chief Matt Puccia.
David Stremme was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers in 29th while Scott Riggs, Tony Raines and Dennis Setzer failed to make the field for Sunday's event, which kicks off the second half of the Cup season.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Ryan Newman Stewart Haas Chevrolet 28.165s 2. Tony Stewart Stewart Haas Chevrolet 28.200s + 0.035s 3. David Reutimann Waltrip Toyota 28.263s + 0.098s 4. Kurt Busch Penske Dodge 28.352s + 0.187s 5. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 28.392s + 0.227s 6. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 28.398s + 0.233s 7. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 28.408s + 0.243s 8. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 28.469s + 0.304s 9. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 28.471s + 0.306s10. Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota 28.476s + 0.311s11. Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet 28.484s + 0.319s12. Clint Bowyer Childress Chevrolet 28.510s + 0.345s13. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 28.541s + 0.376s14. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota 28.545s + 0.380s15. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 28.550s + 0.385s16. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 28.560s + 0.395s17. AJ Allmendinger Petty Ford 28.613s + 0.448s18. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 28.617s + 0.452s19. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 28.632s + 0.467s20. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 28.639s + 0.474s21. Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota 28.651s + 0.486s22. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 28.658s + 0.493s23. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 28.671s + 0.506s24. Mark Martin Hendrick Chevrolet 28.697s + 0.532s25. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 28.702s + 0.537s26. David Ragan Roush Fenway Ford 28.710s + 0.545s27. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 28.739s + 0.574s28. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 28.767s + 0.602s29. David Stremme Inception Chevrolet 28.804s + 0.639s30. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 28.826s + 0.661s31. Casey Mears Germain Toyota 28.827s + 0.662s32. Landon Cassill Phoenix Chevrolet 28.879s + 0.714s33. Michael McDowell HP Toyota 28.985s + 0.820s34. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 28.986s + 0.821s35. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 29.007s + 0.842s36. Jeff Green Front Row Ford 29.036s + 0.871s37. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 29.080s + 0.915s38. JJ Yeley Front Row Ford 29.086s + 0.921s39. Mike Skinner Germain Toyota 29.128s + 0.963s40. Erik Darnell Whitney Chevrolet 29.257s + 1.092s41. Mike Bliss FAS Lane Ford 29.303s + 1.138s42. Scott Wimmer Gordon Dodge 29.694s + 1.529s43. Andy Lally TRG Chevrolet 29.318s + 1.153sDid not qualify: Tony Raines Front Row Ford 29.368s + 1.203s Scott Riggs Whitney Chevrolet 29.499s + 1.334s Dennis Setzer K-Automotive Chevrolet 29.521s + 1.356s