INDIANAPOLIS – The Rocket Man got his fuel back.
Ryan Newman snatched the pole from Jimmie Johnson with a blistering lap of 187.531 mph around Indianapolis Motor Speedway to set a track record for NASCAR races at the Brickyard.
Newman was the last of 45 drivers to make a qualifying attempt Saturday as Johnson’s No. 48 was atop the scoring tower for more than an hour with a lap of 187.438. Driver after driver had failed to knock Johnson from the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, and Indiana native Newman finally pulled it off.
Team co-owner Tony Stewart said, “They don’t call him ‘Rocket Man’ for no reason. He had an awesome lap.”
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It is the 50th career pole for Newman, but his previous one was late in the 2011 season.
“I just am ecstatic,” Newman said. “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.”
Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw will start in seventh and Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., will start 27th.
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Busch had the fastest car to win for the eighth time in 15 races. He led 92 of 100 laps but had a late scare after he fell back to third on the final restart.
Kahne finished 26th of 40.