Nine Is Fine For Newman

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CONCORD, N.C. - Ryan Newman scored his ninth career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway Thursday night when he earned the top spot for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600.

Newman used the high line in qualifying to post a white knuckle lap of 187.546 mph in his Stewart-Haas Racing U.S. Army Chevrolet to grab the number one starting spot for the longest race of the season.

"That was the most courageous lap I probably could have ever had around here," Newman said. "I ran the high line in qualifying which I never have done before. I have never run into a corner at 200 mph near the wall."

The pole was 46th of Newman's career and it moved him into a tie with Junior Johnson for 10th on the all-time list. It also marked the 600th pole for Chevrolet.

Last Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race winner Kurt Busch came up shy of giving owner Roger Penske a sweep of the Charlotte and Indianapolis poles by qualifying second with a lap of 187.292 mph.

“To be able to turn what we accomplished from last Saturday night into a good qualifying package speaks well of our team," Busch said. "We’ll have a good pit box now for the 600. With Roger on the pole up there, we were trying to get the pole down here."

Martin Truex Jr., who won last week's Sprint Showdown preliminary feature and then finished second in the All-Star race, qualified third for his first top-10 start at CMS.

"Charlotte has always been a tough track for me, but I'm really starting to come around and warm up to it," Truex Jr. said.

Kasey Kahne, who leads all drivers with a 3.2 average finish with the COT at Charlotte, was the fastest Ford in the field in fourth.

"I am really happy with the car and the adjustments and where we are at," Kahne said. "I am a little surprised it wasn't faster actually."

Six-time Charlotte winner Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five.

Defending race winner David Reutimann, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer completed the first ten qualifiers.

Brad Keselowski crashed his No. 12 Dodge on his second lap and will now go to a back-up car.

David Stremme, Max Papis, Reed Sorenson and Mike Bliss failed to qualify.

Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 is slated for a 5:45 p.m. ET green flag.

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