Not An Easy Day

LOUDON, N.H. - Ryan Newman started from the pole for the seventh time this season, but struggled and finished ninth in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway Sunday. The top-10 finish was Newman's 15th of the season and pushed him up a spot to fifth in the Winston Cup point standings. He trails leader Matt Kenseth by 617 points.

"It was just a difficult day for us," Newman said. "We got our ALLTEL Mobil 1 Dodge up front, but we struggled a little bit in traffic. Our car wasn't the greatest at all on that last run, and we needed it to be.

"Strategy wasn't our problem today. It was just about not having the car in good shape at the end of the race."

On Friday, Newman earned his seventh Bud pole of the season with a record lap of 28.561 seconds (133.357 mph), breaking the previous track record that he set in September 2002 (28.802 seconds, 132.241 mph).

"It means a lot to the entire team," Newman said. "To me, it's another dot on the resume. I just go out and do the best job I can, and where we end up is where we end up. I know the team does the best job that they can, and together we were able to put it on the pole.

"I truly feel that we have the best of everything. We go out there and we try to the best at everything we do. I've always said that I enjoy qualifying - that I get to go out there and attack the racetrack one-on-one. It's me versus the racetrack, and I don't have to worry about anything else there.

"We've definitely experienced some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows this year. No matter what you look at in life, whether it's the stock market, the temperature, your race career or your relationship with your significant other, it all goes up and down. You just try to maximize the good part of it and minimize the bad part."

Newman and the ALLTEL Racing team next head to Dover International Speedway for Sunday's MBNA America 400.

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