Newman Richmond Rocket

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RICHMOND, Va. - Ryan Newman won his 23rd career Bud Pole Friday in qualifying for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Mark Martin will join Newman on the front row as both drivers are looking to make the "Chase for the Cup" on Saturday.

Newman's lap of 128.700 mph in his ALLTEL Dodge topped the 52 car field and assured him his sixth straight Top 5 starting spot at Richmond. It was also Newman's fifth pole of the season.

"We've had our struggles," said Newman. "Our performance has been less than it was in previous years, but the past two races we've stepped up the program. It is just a matter of capitalizing better on our capabilities."

Following Newman and Martin on the speedchart was Jimmie Johnson, Joe Nemechek and Jeff Burton.

Ricky Rudd, Jeremy Mayfield, Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon and Jeff Green completed the first ten qualifiers.

"This has been by far more pressure than racing for the championship in 2002," said Martin. "There's a lot more riding on the 6 car right now than in 2002," said Martin, who finished 17th in points last year, his worst in 16 seasons with Roush Racing. "We had performance issues in 2003. And it's also a matter of pride, and I'm very proud of my race team. If we make it in, we'll have an opportunity to show what they can do."

Saturday night's Chevy Rock and Roll 400 will take the green flag at 7:30 p.m. (ET) and be televised live by TNT.

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