Ryan Newman On Pole At New Hampshire
Ryan Newman of Stewart-Haas Racing won the pole Friday for Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Newman had a fast lap at 135.232 mph. That is a new track record.
The pole was just the first of the season for Newman, but the 47th of his career and fifth at New Hampshire.
His teammate/boss, Tony Stewart, was second fastest at 135.064 mph.
“Just really proud of our organization,” Stewart said.
The start will be Stewart’s first from the front row this season. Neither SHR drivers have won a race in 2011.
David Reutimann of Michael Waltrip Racing was third at 134.763 mph.
“Finally running like we’re supposed to,” Reutimann, who finshed second last weekend at Kentucky Speedway, said. “I don’t know if you call it a roll, but it’s certainly been better than it has been. Just because you qualify upfront, it doesn’t mean you’re going to stay there, but it certainly does get your weekend off to a good start.
“Just all due to the improvements we made on our cars and things we were missing and felt like some areas we were struggling in as far as our cars were performing. It’s not that we had bad cars, it’s just that we were behind a little bit. Hopefully starting to close the gap a little bit. Last week was the first time we’ve run our new generation-type car and that was a big improvement over what we’ve had. It’s just qualifying here, but we’ll see
how it stacks up in race trim before we know if there is any kind of roll or not.”
Kurt Busch of Penske Racing was fourth.
“A top-five starting spot is great,” Busch said. “It keeps us up front in the mix and gives us a good pit selection.”
Fifth was Busch’s teammate, Brad Keselowski.
“We got a good lap in; it’s a respectable place to start,” Keselowski said. “You always want more. We started practice very strong, but fell off at the end. This was a good pickup from where we ended up in practice. It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. This track has a short-track feel to it which I think is good; it serves the sport well. It’s a lot of fun to watch. I like this place.”
Stewart said the good qualifying effort by his team comes amid a time of change at SHR.
“We have a great group of guys at SHR. We’ve got great engines and great chassis from Henrick and I’m just really proud of our organization,” the two-time Cup champion said. “We’ve been fighting hard here and we’re in the middle of making some changes internally and it’s definitely not an easy time for us at the shop. But we’ve got a group of guys there that are racers and they don’t care how bad it gets. They don’t care how much of a struggle it is. They keep focused and keep working.
“This is for all of our guys at the fab shop and prep shop and the job that they do to get us here. Plus, I’ve got a pretty good driver over there (Ryan Newman, pole winner); he’s gotten two poles in two nights here. So he’s doing a pretty good job.”
Burton qualified in the top 10 for just the fourth time this season, and first since Charlotte in May.
It was most welcome, he said.
“Yeah we need some good stuff,” Burton said. “It’s been a hard year but everybody is still working hard, everybody is really focused. We’ve had a good weekend, I mean its only one day but it’s been a good weekend. Every time we’ve been on the track the car is running good. We’ve made some changes to the car that have made it better.”