The “Rocketman” returned today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, as Ryan Newman secured his second pole of the season for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 – the second race of the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Newman, who sits eighth in the championship after finishing 10th last weekend in the post-season opener at Chicagoland Speedway, whipped around NHMS in track-record lap of 136.497 miles per hour.
“I’ve sat in here several times and probably on at least six other occasions, and said this was the birth place of track position,” Newman said on Friday afternoon. “And I strongly feel that it is in qualifying well and having that number one pit stall at the start of the race up front in clean air and all the things that go along with it.
“More important is the confidence to know that you have the fastest race car or at least can make it the fastest race car.”
Newman’s lap was enough to top the best from fellow Chaser and Chevy pilot Kasey Kahne, who turned in a time of 136.082 mph that was good enough for the outside of the front row.
Chase contenders will take up eight of the Top 10 starting positions for Sunday’s event. In addition to Newman and Kahne on Row 1, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch will line up on Row 2. Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick start on the outside of Row 3 and 4 respectively, and Row 5 features last week’s winner and Chase leader Matt Kenseth as well as Greg Biffle.
The two lone non-Chase drivers in the first five rows are Martin Truex Jr. in P5 and Paul Menard in P7.
As for the other Chasers, Jimmie Johnson qualified 11th; Kyle Busch in 12th; Clint Bowyer in 16th; Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 17th; and Carl Edwards in 26th.