Newman Rockets To Top Starting Spot At The Brickyard
Ryan Newman won the pole for Sunday’s Brickyard 400 Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a record-setting lap at 187.531 mph on Saturday afternoon.
Points leader and the winner of last year’s Brickyard race Jimmie Johnson was second at 187.438 mph.
The pole was the 50th of Newman’s career but first at Indy and his first since Sept. 23, 2011 at New Hampshire.
“I’ll admit I was emotional, for me, especially, because it was the Brickyard, and I hadn’t won a pole here before, and I’ve won so many poles,” Newman, an Indiana native and a graduate of nearby Purdue University, said. “It’s been so long since I’ve won a pole – people ask me if I’ve run out of fuel for the rockets.
“It’s special for me for a lot of reasons, being at home, being in Indiana, being at the Brickyard and being so long not winning a pole. Hopefully, we can turn it into a good day (on Sunday).”
Newman, who will lose his ride at Stewart-Haas Racing after the season to make room for new driver Kevin Harvick, will not only lead the field to the green flag on Sunday, he will have the best pit stall as a result of his pole.
“It’s really big,” Newman said. “This pit road here can lose you a race pretty quick. The boxes are long, but (pit road is) narrow, so having (that stall) is truly an advantage.”
Finishing behind Johnson were Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jeff Gordon.
Newman bettered Johnson’s lap through the first and second corners and held on through Turns 3 and 4 to snag the pole.
“I did miss Turn 2 a little bit on my turning point, and felt like I made that mistake, and then the lap tracker showed that,” acknowledged Johnson, the series points leader. “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.”
Johnson went out early in qualifying and held the pole until the final driver to take to the track in the session – Newman – dislodged him.
Oh well, Johnson said.
“Yeah,” the four-time Brickyard winner said, “just a very close qualifying session. I think when you look through the top four or five cars, it was very, very tight, and I had some close calls including with Carl and the great lap he had.
“But I felt like watching on the lap tracker, the majority of the cars except for Ryan, I didn’t have the best 1 and 2, but in 3 and 4 I’d rally back. I started rallying back on Ryan but just didn’t have enough front straightaway to really get there the way it looked on the screen that ESPN was showing me.
“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.
“Starting up front is important here. Hopefully we’ll have a good day tomorrow.”No Comment