News & Media

Newman rockets his way to Cup pole at Bristol

August 26, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service,

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Stewart posted slowest lap of the session

Ryan Newman is no psychologist, but he's going to try to buoy Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Tony Stewart's fortunes after Newman won the pole for Saturday's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol and Stewart was the slowest of 46 drivers during Friday's time trials.

"It wasn't a good day for the 14 [Stewart] -- you saw that in qualifying," said Newman, who sped around Bristol at 122.811 mph (15.624 seconds) to win his second Coors Light pole award of the season and the 48th of his career, 10th on the Sprint Cup all-time list.

"I'm happy that we've given the 14 the opportunity to look at our notes."


"I think it's one of those deals where you spend time overnight regrouping," Newman said. "I felt our car was pretty good in race trim. Obviously, it worked good in qualifying trim. You don't ever want to see the cars that far apart, whether it's the setups or results because of a setup change.

"I'm happy that we've given the 14 the opportunity to look at our notes. We always share information -- there's no question about that."

Newman edged Roush Fenway Racing drivers Carl Edwards (122.670 mph) and Matt Kenseth (122.662 mph) for the top starting spot in Saturday's race. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon (122.576 mph) and Mark Martin (122. 544 mph) will start from positions four and five, respectively.

After posting a fast lap of 116.397 mph, Stewart will start 42nd Saturday. Mike Skinner, 41st in time trials and the slowest of the non-exempt qualifiers, will start 43rd.

Stewart, winless this season, is fighting to keep the 10th position in the Sprint Cup standings, and with three races left before the Chase for the Sprint Cup field is set Sept. 10 at Richmond, starting at the back of the pack won't help.

Edwards didn't feel he left much -- if anything -- on the table.

"Ryan did a good job, and we did everything right today," Edwards said. "I probably could have done a little better job coming to the green. To come off Turn 4 that last time, coming to the white [to complete the first of two laps], I was a little bit loose and I left my foot in it and almost hit the fence. I figured that was enough. Second place will be a good starting spot. Hopefully we can get a victory."


• Ryan Newman scores his 48th Cup pole in his 356th start.
• Newman's last pole came at New Hampshire in July.
• Newman has four career wins from the pole, including his last win at NHMS.
• Friday's qualifying session marked Newman's fifth pole with Stewart-Haas Racing.
• Carl Edwards (second) records his third consecutive front-row start at Bristol.
• Matt Kenseth (third) earns his fifth top-five start of the season, including the past two races.
• Jeff Gordon (fourth) gets his best start at Bristol since rolling off third in 2008.
• Mark Martin (fifth) will start in the top-five in consecutive races for only the second time this season.
• Forty-six drivers attempted to qualify.
• Three of the past four races at Bristol were won from starting positions of 15th or lower.
• The lowest starting position of a Bristol race winner: 38th (Elliott Sadler - March 2001)
• Last driver to win from the pole at Bristol: Carl Edwards (August 2008)
• Kyle Busch has posted top-five finishes in 12 of the past 15 races on short-tracks.

Series points leader Kyle Busch, who has won four of the past five Cup races at Bristol, qualified 23rd. J.J. Yeley, T.J. Bell and Jeff Green failed to qualify for the 43-car field.