Newman Looks To Vault Pole Record

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Ryan Newman has a chance to make history this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway as the Stewart-Haas Racing driver attempts to break Buddy Baker's all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole record at the 1.5-mile track.

Newman and Baker share the record of winning seven poles in NASCAR's top division at the lightning-fast Georgia track, a mark Newman can own if he tops Friday's qualifying session.

"It’s not so much about breaking Buddy’s pole record," Newman downplays. "In fact, being tied with Buddy is quite an honor for me. I think it would be even more of an honor if I could pass him and set my own pole record at Atlanta – just because I know what an incredible driver and teacher Buddy was to me, and I know how long that pole record has stood."

Passing his mentor's record for his new team is a goal Newman is hoping to accomplish.

"Being able to set the record this weekend in my first race at Atlanta for Stewart-Haas Racing would probably make the feat more special to me," he said. "It would be my first Sprint Cup pole in the No. 39 car, which would mean so much to me just because of the history that I’ve had with that number dating back to my USAC days. It would be Stewart-Haas Racing’s first pole position, and it would be a record-setting pole for me at that track."

Newman knows after the start of the year a good weekend in Atlanta would go a long way in helping to build some confidence and momentum with the No. 39 team.

"We’ve had a stretch of bad racing luck the first couple of races," Newman said. "And then, last week in Las Vegas, we had such a fast car but had to pit for a loose wheel and that took us out of contention. We need something good to happen. I think winning the pole on Friday night would be just the boost that this team needs right now.”

Despite the stumble out of the gate, Newman believes his team will be successful in time and that a few good runs is all that's needed to turn things around.

“It has been a frustrating few weeks for the No. 39 Haas Automation team, but it’s a long season," Newman said. "It helps me to think about the things that have gone right – the fact that I know we have had highly competitive cars, but that we have had some rough luck. We have tremendous support from Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet."

"I am very confident in the guys who are working on my cars at Stewart-Haas Racing. We have fast racecars and a great team behind me. I have no doubt that we will be a very competitive team once we get things going our way. Hopefully, that is sooner rather than later.”

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