Qualifying: Newman fastest yet again

Ryan Newman won another pole Friday and set another record: he has won seven poles this season, surpassing his freshman high of six last year and well ahead of second-best Bobby Labonte, who has four. The stop this weekend is the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International raceway

Qualifying: Newman fastest yet again

Newman, winner last week at Richmond, has won three of the past eight pole positions on the circuit and four of the past nine races. He has set two track records (Bristol, here) and twice has won from the pole (Dover, Pocono).

Newman trailed Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 0.3sec in practice, but his second of two qualifying laps in 28.561sec (133.357mph), resetting his 2002 mark of 28.802. Late-runner Terry Labonte was closest, and not very close, at 28.685.

Newman, 25, won from the pole here last year, scoring his first Winston Cup victory. He has piled on with six more this season, and except for oft-chronicled misfortune in six races might be running away with the season points lead. As it is, he is sixth, having made up six positions in the past six weeks.

"It's not about the track being good to me, it's about doing good on the track," he said with a shrug. "I truly feel that we have the best of everything. We go out there and we try to the best at everything we do. I enjoy qualifying - I get to go out there and attack the race track one-on-one. It's me versus the race track, and I don't have to worry about anything else there.

Jamie McMurray was third, Greg Biffle (beginning to attract deserved notice) was fourth, and Michael Waltrip fifth. Waltrip, who went out early, bumped Earnhardt from the top spot and held it until Newman led a flock of late-day speedsters past him.

Points leader Matt Kenseth, who seldom qualifies well, will start 19th in Sunday's race.

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