Newman Remains Hot In Qualifying

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AVONDALE, Az. - Ryan Newman earned his ninth Bud Pole and fourth consecutive of the 2004 season in Qualifying for Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. This is Newman's third straight pole at PIR, and the 27th of his career.

Driving a new multi-blue paint scheme promoting ALLTEL's "TXT2Win MVP Sweepstakes" Newman shattered Rusty Wallace's track record after he circled the 1-mile oval in 26.499 seconds at 135.854 mph.

"It was just a fast lap," said Newman. "I have no other explanation other than a lot of hard work went into it. We've got a new paint scheme on it this week, and evidently the paint was pretty slick because that was a pretty fast lap. I've never been to victory lane here, but we always run well here."

For the third consecutive season, Newman has won more poles than any other driver. The last driver to accomplish the feat was Darrell Waltrip in 1981, 1982 and 1983.

Brian Vickers scored his second straight runner-up starting position at PIR with his lap of 133.879 mph.

"We came off the truck pretty fast," said Vickers. "The last run that we made on stickers was not really what the car was. I messed up turn 3 a little bit; tried some different stuff and it didn't work out."

Joe Nemechek, Kasey Kahne and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five.

Tony Stewart, Casey Mears, Jeff Gordon, Elliott Sadler, Jamie McMurray completed the top-10 qualifiers.

The Checker Auto Parts 500 will air live on NBC beginning at 3 p.m. (ET).

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