Rocket Ryan At Rockingham

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ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – Ryan Newman was the last car to qualify Friday afternoon but will be the first car to the green flag Sunday after he winning the pole for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Pop Secret 400 at North Carolina Speedway.

Newman's lap of 155.577 mph topped the field of 46 to earn his eleventh Bud Pole this season tying him with Bill Elliott, Darrell Waltrip, David Pearson and Bobby Allison for second place for most poles in a season in the modern era (1972-present.)

"Winning my eleventh pole of the season is something special, and to be tied second all-time is pretty neat," said Newman, who won his 18th career pole. "This is a good racecar. It's done a lot of great things for us this year, and the guys have done a great job."

Brian Vickers, who won the Busch pole earlier, will start on the front row with Newman in the UAW/Delphi Chevrolet.

"The UAW-Delphi guys did a great job getting the car better and I held my breath for one lap," said Vickers. "It was about all she had in her, so I shut her down and coasted in."

Jeremy Mayfield, Tony Raines and Bill Elliott rounded out the Top 5.

Joe Nemechek, Rusty Wallace, Jimmy Spencer, Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle completed the first ten qualifiers.

Matt Kenseth, who will start 23rd, will need to finish 7th or better Sunday in order to clinch his first Winston Cup championship. If Kenseth can win the Pop Secret 400 he will not only pick up the championship but also the NASCAR Winston Cup leader bonus of $350,000. If awarded it will be the highest payout since the program began in 1996.

Hermie Sadler, Tim Sauter and Rich Bickle failed to qualify for the 400-mile event.

Sunday's Pop Secret 400, 393-lap race is set to take the green flag at 1:00 p.m. ET. The event will be televised live on TNT TV and MRN Radio will feature live radio coverage.

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