In spite of the rain drops that yet again delayed action on the track, Ryan Newman continued his love affair with the ‘Magic Mile’, scoring a record-setting sixth pole.
[media-credit name=”Gary Buchanan” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]Newman, behind the wheel of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet, turned a lap of 28.213 seconds and a speed of 135.002 mph.
This was Newman’s third pole in 2011 and his 59th career pole, tying him for ninth all-time with Bobby Isaac, Hall of Fame Nominee. In spite of it being a personal career pole best, it was the drama of it all that most impressed Newman.
“In general, I don’t think I’ve seen that kind of drama going into the last five cars qualifying in my ten or eleven years of experience,” Newman said. “It’s kind of a tough situation, one hand you’re thinking other guys had to qualify in the sprinkles.”
“My track was dry,” Newman continued. “I don’t know if it was any faster. I think we picked up the same speed as the other guys did earlier in qualifying.”
The drama particularly played out with five-time champion Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet, who started his qualifying run but then pulled off the track, only to be resoundly booed and heckled by the crowd, who were desperate for the completion of qualifying.
“Some of them did and some of them didn’t go out, but in the end we’re supposed to have dry track conditions or at least not be raining when we go out on the race track,” Newman said. “So, I understand where Jimmie (Johnson) came from when he pulled in.”
“I’m just really proud of my team,” Newman said. “We backed up what we did here at least on Friday from the spring race and give the Haas Automation a good starting spot.”
The Red Bull teammates of Kasey Kahne, behind the wheel of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, and Brian Vickers, driving the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, were also part of the drama that played out in Loudon qualifying.
Vickers went out prior to the rain drops falling, where Kahne had to cool his heels with the five remaining cars awaiting the drying of the track. In the end, Kahne still scored the outside pole, while Vickers lost the provisional pole, falling to the third spot.
“Obviously the conditions were tough,” Vickers said. “I would have liked to have seen it play out just running straight through.”
“It is what it is,” Vickers continued. “Either way we started out better than we would have.”
“We ended up with a top-three start,” Vickers said. “So, that’s great and both Red Bull cars are up front.”
“But again, I would have liked to have seen our laps hold if we were heads up in the same position.”
Outside pole sitter Kasey Kahne was second quickest when he finally got to qualify, with a lap of 28.263 seconds and a speed of 134.763 mph.
“It was a good effort,” Kahne said. “We ended up right where we would have been if it would have ended up if it hadn’t rained.”
“The track was definitely slicker,” Kahne continued. “The way my car handled, we were definitely quicker in practice. But I’m glad we got qualifying in.”
Greg Biffle, driving the No. 16 Ford40MPG.com Ford, and Kurt Busch, behind the wheel of the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge, rounded out the top five for the 15th annual Sylvania 300. The remainder of the top ten qualifiers were Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex, Jr. and Jimmie Johnson.
|Sylvania 300, New Hampshire Motor Speedway|
|9||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||134.146||28.393|
|12||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||133.981||28.428|