Ryan Newman posted a lap time of 27.904 seconds during qualifying on Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon to claim the pole starting spot for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track. The lap broke the previous track qualifying record set by Brad Keselowski earlier this year. It’s Newman’s 51st-career Sprint Cup pole and his second of the season.
“I’ve sat in here several times and probably on at least six other occasions and said this was the birth place of track position, and I strongly feel that it is in qualifying well and having that number one pit stall at the start of the race up front in clean air and all the things that go along with it,” Newman said in the media center after qualifying. “More important is the confidence to know that you have the fastest race car, or at least can make it the fastest race car.”
Kasey Kahne will join Newman on the front row Sunday after turning in a 27.989-second lap in qualifying. Jeff Gordon qualifying third. Both Kahne and Gordon also surpassed Keselowski’s old track qualifying record. The top-three were the only drivers to post qualifying lap times under 30 seconds.
“We had a really good lap,” Kahne said. “We went out pretty early and I feel like I missed just a little bit off turn two — didn’t quite get enough there. We got through turns three and four really well. I felt strong there in practice and in qualifying.”
Kurt Busch was fourth in qualifying to share the second row on the starting grid with Gordon. Martin Truex Jr. qualified fifth, the highest driver not among the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup competitors.
Qualifying sixth through 10th were Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle.
Forty-three drivers, the exact number needed for a full race field, made qualifying attempts, so all who made laps in qualifying earned spots on the starting grid for Sunday.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR