Qualifying: Newman steals all the thunder

The thunderstorm overhead which delayed qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte on Thursday night was nothing to compared to the shockwave created on the track by 23-year-old Ryan Newman, who steered his Penske Racing South Ford Taurus on to pole position

Qualifying: Newman steals all the thunder

The protégé of Rusty Wallace, Newman has only ever started two Winston Cup races before, but will start his third from the front of the grid next to superstar Jeff Gordon.

"This is super big for me," said Newman. "If we can be as fast as we were in that Winston Open [the non-championship race at Charlotte which he led last Saturday night], I think we'll be pretty good. To qualify as good as we did is great, but 600 miles is a totally different issue. This is a victory for us, no matter how we do Sunday, but we want to run the full race Sunday."

Gordon, a three-time winner of the Winston Cup series, said there was nothing he could do to stop the youngster from grabbing the top slot in the cool of the night.

"Ryan was that fast," said Chevrolet-mounted Gordon. "He put a great lap up there. I saw those times like Todd [Bodine] put up, and I didn't think anyone would touch that. But it's amazing how much grip this place gets when it cools down."

Bodine (Ford) starts third, ahead of the first Dodge, that of Bill Elliott, while Jimmy Spencer's Ford rounds out the top five. Series leader Dale Jarrett hit trouble when he got loose in turn three and slammed his Ford Taurus heavily into the wall in turn four and will start 37th.

Ryan Newman (Ford) 185.217mph
Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet) 184.900mph
Todd Bodine (Ford) 184.628mph
Bill Elliott (Dodge) 184.414mph
Jimmy Spencer (Ford) 184.244
Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet) 184.225mph
Mike Skinner (Chevrolet) 184.074mph
Johnny Benson (Pontiac) 183.842mph
Ward Burton (Dodge) 183.714mph
Mark Martin (Ford) 183.536mph
Robert Pressley (Ford) 183.194mph
Tony Stewart (Pontiac) 183.169mph
Buckshot Jones (Dodge) 183.150mph
Andy Houston (Ford) 183.144mph
Bobby Hamilton Jr (Chevrolet) 182.809mph
Rusty Wallace (Ford) 182.747mph
Hut Stricklin (Ford) 182.735mph
Jeff Burton (Ford) 182.667mph
Dale Earnhardt Jr (Chevrolet) 182.648mph
Ricky Craven (Ford) 182.568mph
Ricky Rudd (Ford) 182.309mph
Stacy Compton (Dodge) 182.297mph
Jerry Nadeau (Chevrolet) 182.242mph
Bobby Labonte (Pontiac) 182.094mph
Jason Leffler (Dodge) 182.063mph
Sterling Marlin (Dodge) 181.971mph
Ron Hornaday Jr (Pontiac) 181.849mph
Michael Waltrip (Chevrolet) 181.812mph
Rick Mast (Chevrolet) 181.806mph
Ken Schrader (Pontiac) 181.794mph
Kenny Wallace (Pontiac) 181.726mph
Kevin Lepage (Chevrolet) 181.677mph
Brett Bodine (Ford) 181.537mph
Jeremy Mayfield (Ford) 181.409mph
Casey Atwood (Dodge) 181.226mph
Terry Labonte (Chevrolet) 181.117mph
Dale Jarrett (Ford) Provisional
Steve Park (Chevrolet) Provisional
Bobby Hamilton (Chevrolet) Provisional
Matt Kenseth (Ford) Provisional
Elliott Sadler (Ford) Provisional
Kurt Busch (Ford) Provisional
Dave Blaney (Dodge) Provisional


John Andretti (Dodge) 180.995mph
Kyle Petty (Dodge) 180.451mph
Derrike Cope (Pontiac) 180.379mph
Mike Wallace (Ford) 179.922mph
Carl Long (Ford) 179.724mph
Jeff Fultz (Ford) 179.874 mph
Colt Seevers, the unknown stuntman (General Lee) 179.666mph

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