Newman claims Atlanta pole

NASCAR sensation Ryan Newman claimed yet another pole position in qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway, his ninth of the year. The Penske South drivers feat is made more impressive by the fact that none of his rivals has secured more than four poles this year

Newman claims Atlanta pole

Newman - who has also won twice as many races as anyone else this year - lapped the 1.54mile circuit in 28.534s, the third quickest lap in the track's history. The Dodge driver also claimed pole for March's race at Atlanta.

"That's pretty quick," commented Newman. "It wasn't a perfect lap - we were a little off on our balance. I thought we could have been a tick quicker, but it was pretty good."

Bobby Labonte qualified a narrow second, just 0.041s off Newman's pace, keeping up his strong record at Atlanta. The former Winston Cup champion has six victories at the track, the most recent coming back in March.

Dale Earnhardt Jr was third fastest, ahead of an impressive showing from Brian Vickers in just his second Winston Cup start. Celebrating his 20th birthday, the Busch Series stand-out didn't seem at all fazed by the competition in his first run in Hendrick Motorsport's fourth car (replacing Joe Nemecheck), which he will drive full-time neaxt year.

Championship long-shot Kevin Harvick qualified tenth, although he was comfortably clear of points leader Matt Kenseth. The Ford driver had a torrid time, and was forced to rely on a provisional to get him into the field.

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