Qualifying: Newman on pole

Ryan Newman blasted to his sixth pole position of the season and the third in the past five races in qualifying for Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 NASCAR Winston Cup round at Phoenix Raceway

Qualifying: Newman on pole

The Autosport.com rookie of the year nominee managed a lap of 27.138 seconds (132.655mph) around the one-mile oval. It was enough to break the rookie record for poles season, held by Davey Allison.

"It goes down in history, I guess, but I don't know that part of the history," the 24-year-old said. "Like I said last week, any time there is an award out there, we go for it and I'm happy to accomplish that this year."

Newman bumped off John Andretti, fastest in morning practice, keeping Andretti from his first pole since 1999. Andretti's 27.152s (132.587mph) earned him his best starting position of the season.

Newman made his first Winston Cup start here last Autumn. Richard Petty, owner of Andretti's car, won his first Cup race as an owner here in 1996, with Bobby Hamilton.

Newman's strong end to the season has also included his first career victory, at New Hampshire in September. He has been NASCAR's most-consistent performer since August.

The two titles contenders endured mixed fortunes. Mark Martin qualified seventh and leader Tony Stewart 15th.

Champ Car racer Christian Fittipaldi, who is switching to stock cars full-time next year, qualified 17th for his maiden Winston Cup race.

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