Indy Track Record for Newman
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone on July 27, 2013 | 4:01 P.M. EST
Newman becomes the ninth driver to score 50 or more poles. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Newman set a new track qualifying record of 187.531 mph to win the pole for Sunday's Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Newman was the final of the 45 cars to qualify for Sunday’s 20th running of the race and knocked Jimmie Johnson from the top spot to claim the number one spot.
It was Newman’s 50th career pole, which ranks him ninth on the all-time Sprint Cup Series list. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver scored his first pole since September of 2011.
"I woke up, ate two chocolate chip chip cookies and decided to try harder," joked Newman when asked how he won the pole. “I just am ecstatic. It's awesome because it's my 50th. It's awesome because it's Indy, and it's a track record on top of that, so it's like a double triple bonus.
“But just really look forward to tomorrow. We've proven today that we have a fast race car, and we just need to go out and put together 400 miles, and that's much easier said than done.”
In all nine drivers broke the previous mark set by Casey Mears of 186.293 mph.
“It’s special to me because it's Indiana, but it's more special to me because it's the Brickyard, because it's Indy, because of the history of auto racing at this facility,” said the Indiana native.
“So many drivers who are my heroes, so many drivers I've admired, so many drivers that have worked so hard in their career to get to here on this day, to be the fastest one, that's what's the most special to me.”
Johnson, who is shooting for an unprecedented fifth Brickyard victory, will start outside the front row.
“Yeah, just a very close qualifying session,” said Johnson. “But very, very good lap for our race team. I did miss Turn 2 a little bit on my turning point, and felt like that I made that mistake and then the lap tracker showed that.
“But Ryan hit all four corners great and got it done. Happy for him. It's got to be a big day for him, being a hometown boy and all. Very happy for Ryan and very happy for our team.”
Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart rounded out the top five.
“We've worked really hard on qualifying this year,” said Edwards. “Jimmy Fennig (crew chief) has helped me a lot, and our cars have been they've just been getting better and better. Hopefully we can turn this into a good race effort.
“A year ago we qualified second and had a plug wire or something fall off, so I've been waiting about a year to get to try this again, so hopefully starting up front we can run well.”
Kurt Busch, Kasey Mears, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Gordon and Marcos Ambrose completed the first ten qualifiers.
Other notable starters in the field include defending Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski (12th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (15th) and Danica Patrick (33rd).
Two drivers failed to make the race; Scott Speed and Mike Bliss.
Sunday’s race is slated for a 1:15 p.n. (ET) green flag.