Atlanta High Five For Newman

Ryan Newman lowered his stellar starting average at Atlanta Motor Speedway to 1.9 Friday night as he extended his AMS consecutive Bud Pole record to five after he turned a fast lap of 194.690 mph around the 1.54-mile speedway.

"It's great to be able to get the pole," said Newman. "Hopefully we're ready to race. I'm going to go fishing tomorrow. I don't know if I'll watch the Busch race or not. We'll have to see how the fishing goes first."

It was the 29th career pole in 120 Cup starts for Newman, who is now tied with Ricky Rudd for 22nd on the all-time list. It was also the first pole for a Dodge Charger at Atlanta since Richard Petty turned the trick in 1977.

Newman has now bested Buddy Baker by two poles, as Baker is second at Atlanta with three straight - both in 1979 and one in 1980.

Starting out front on Sunday will also give Newman an excellent shot of extending his record of leading at least one lap in every race he has competed in at AMS. Going into his seventh race, Newman has led a total of 151 laps. His best finish of fifth at the track came in the spring race last year.

After matching a career-best finish of 11th last weekend in Las Vegas, Bobby Hamilton Jr. showed more signs that the No. 32 Tide team is turning things around as he posted a personal best - second in qualifying.

"To run wide open here is one thing, but to run wide open here at night is incredible," said Hamilton Jr. "I went down the back straightaway and I was screaming, 'Whooo!' It was a cool rush. We've just got to keep building our team into a consistent team and go after it."

Jimmie Johnson didn't let Tuesday's Vegas post-race inspection penalties slow the team down as he qualified the Lowe's Chevrolet third with a lap of 193.184 mph.

Carl Edwards has now qualified fourth in his first two Cup races at Atlanta. The car Edwards is running this weekend is the same chassis he finished third with in last year's fall event at AMS.

Kasey Kahne, who is off to a rough start in 2005, will start fifth – his best qualifying effort at the 1.54-mile track in three starts.

California winner Greg Biffle will start sixth, with Joe Nemechek, Brian Vickers and the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates of Tony Stewart and Jason Leffler rounding out the top-10 qualifiers.

The DEI cars of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip continue to struggle as they will start 35th and 37th respectively.

Kyle Busch crashed his No. 5 Chevrolet as he was coming down to take the green flag for his qualifying run. He will start 42nd in a back-up car.

"It was probably the circumstances of cold and cold weather out there and the cold tires not matching up too well," said Busch. "You try cranking it off in the corner and hoping it sticks and sometimes it doesn't, I guess. That was one of the times it didn't."

John Andretti was one of the notables of seven drivers that failed to qualify.

Sunday's Golden Corral 500 will air live on FOX at 12:30 p.m. (ET).

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