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Newman storms to Coke 600 pole

by Pete McCole
Thursday, May 27, 2010

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Ryan Newman
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com

Ryan Newman will take the green flag in Sunday’s 51st running of the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in a very familiar place – starting in the pole position.


Newman pulled off a lap of 187.546 mph in the no. 39 ARMY Chevrolet to knock Martin Truex, Jr. off the top spot to notch his 46th career Sprint Cup pole, moving him up to tenth – tied with recent NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Junior Johnson – on the all-time pole winners list.


Kurt Busch was second, followed by Truex, Jr., Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson.


It was Newman’s ninth career Charlotte pole - most among active drivers – and second-straight for the Coca Cola 600.  In 19 starts, he has yet to win at the track, finishing a career-best second in last year’s rain-shortened race.


Running a white-knuckle line hugging the wall all along the high side, Newman made his run late in the session after track temperatures dropped off from the earlier practice session where Newman was second fastest.


“I’ve never done that in qualifying here before,” said Newman on running the high side. “It tells you how much things have changed between the tires and the track and cars to be able to do something different than I’ve always done to create that ultimate fast lap.


“I talked to Jimmie Johnson, he asked me….’are you going to run the top or the bottom? The top. I’m going for it all.’ I did. And it paid off. When you feel it’s right, you feel it’s right.”


Dodge pilot Kurt Busch, fresh from his victory in last weekend’s Sprint All Star race, came out a little later in the session and ran a top lap of 187.292 mph, just edging out Truex, Jr. for the outside pole.


Busch has hoped to give team owner Roger Penske his second pole of the week, with fellow Penske Racing teammate Helio Castroneves taking the pole for the Indianapolis 500.


“It was a great effort from our team to be able to balance out that setup from last Saturday night into a qualifying package,” said Busch. “With Roger (Penske) on the pole at Indy, I was trying to deliver him a pole down here in Charlotte. We’re close. We’re front row and we’ll go from there.”


Truex, Jr., the winner of last Saturday’s Sprint Showdown and runner-up in the Sprint All Race, held on for the third starting spot with a top speed of 187.292 mph in the no. 56 NAPA Batteries Toyota, his career best start at Charlotte.


“It was good last week, obviously,” said Truex, Jr. “It was good to get some momentum through the All Star race. We’ve been chipping away at it and been coming together as a group. We’re still an awfully new team. Charlotte has always been a tough track for me, but I’m really starting to come around and warm up to it.”


Defending race winner David Reutimann will start sixth, followed by Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer.


Brad Keselowski spun out during the second lap of his qualifying attempt, putting him in a back-up car for Sunday night’s race. David Ragan spun before taking the green flag and was allowed to come to pit road and change tires before taking making another qualifying attempt. He eventually qualified 35th.


Reed Sorenson, Max Papis, David Stremme and Mike Bliss failed to qualify for Sunday’s race.


Results


POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 187.546 28.793 Leader
2 2 Kurt Busch Dodge 187.292 28.832 -0.039
3 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 187.188 28.848 -0.055
4 9 Kasey Kahne Ford 187.169 28.851 -0.058
5 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 186.974 28.881 -0.088
6 00 David Reutimann Toyota 186.825 28.904 -0.111
7 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 186.767 28.913 -0.120
8 20 Joey Logano Toyota 186.728 28.919 -0.126
9 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 186.529 28.950 -0.157
10 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 186.053 29.024 -0.231
11 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet 186.021 29.029 -0.236
12 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 185.803 29.063 -0.270
13 83 Casey Mears Toyota 185.535 29.105 -0.312
14 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge 185.459 29.117 -0.324
15 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 185.452 29.118 -0.325
16 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 185.052 29.181 -0.388
17 66 Dave Blaney Toyota 184.932 29.200 -0.407
18 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford 184.906 29.204 -0.411
19 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 184.855 29.212 -0.419
20 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet 184.634 29.247 -0.454
21 82 Scott Speed Toyota 184.609 29.251 -0.458
22 36 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet 184.464 29.274 -0.481
23 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 184.407 29.283 -0.490
24 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 184.344 29.293 -0.500
25 21 Bill Elliott Ford 184.344 29.293 -0.500
26 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 184.326 29.296 -0.503
27 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 184.181 29.319 -0.526
28 37 David Gilliland Ford 184.093 29.333 -0.540
29 164 Todd Bodine Toyota 184.049 29.340 -0.547
30 55 Michael McDowell Toyota 184.036 29.342 -0.549
31 99 Carl Edwards Ford 183.949 29.356 -0.563
32 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet 183.855 29.371 -0.578
33 98 Paul Menard Ford 183.586 29.414 -0.621
34 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota 183.542 29.421 -0.628
35 6 David Ragan Ford 183.306 29.459 -0.666
36 7 Robby Gordon Toyota 183.281 29.463 -0.670
37 46 J.J. Yeley Dodge 183.243 29.469 -0.676
38 132 Reed Sorenson Toyota 183.125 29.488 -0.695
39 13 Max Papis Toyota 182.902 29.524 -0.731
40 26 David Stremme Ford 182.673 29.561 -0.768
41 12 Brad Keselowski Dodge 182.599 29.573 -0.780
42 71 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 182.562 29.579 -0.786
43 09 Mike Bliss Chevrolet 182.469 29.594 -0.801
44 19 Elliott Sadler Ford 181.977 29.674 -0.881
45 16 Greg Biffle Ford 181.690 29.721 -0.928
46 38 Travis Kvapil Ford 180.590 29.902 -1.109
47 34 Kevin Conway* Ford 179.838 30.027 -1.234

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