Ryan Newman takes Loudon NASCAR Sprint Cup pole

Ryan Newman claimed his 47th NASCAR Sprint Cup career pole position with a record-breaking lap in qualifying at Loudon, as his team-mate Tony Stewart ensured the Stewart Haas outfit's maiden front row sweep

Ryan Newman takes Loudon NASCAR Sprint Cup pole

Newman was among the last drivers in the order after setting the third fastest time in morning practice, beaten only by Stewart and Richard Childress Racing's Clint Bowyer.

While many took a second qualifying lap to extract the most out of their cars, Newman's first flying lap was enough to beat the benchmark set by Michael Waltrip Racing's David Reutimann. Stewart came close to his team-mate's lap immediately afterwards, while Bowyer, a two-time winner at the track, was unable to match their pace, ending up only 12th in the order.

Newman's laptime of 28.165 seconds at an average speed of 135.232 mph is a new record for the one-mile flat oval, while another 11 drivers were able to run under the previous mark set by Penske's Brad Keselowski last September. A new softer tyre specification selected by Goodyear for this weekend's event helped times tumble.

"It's been such a long drought for me to win a pole but I'm just really excited for this weekend," said Newman after claiming his fifth career pole at Loudon and his second of the week as he was also the fastest qualifier for a Modifieds event on Thursday.

"This has been a track that's been really good for me for firsts and I'm looking for that first win [of the season] again. It's extremely important here to start up front, it's a big track-position race, it's a relatively short race if you look at the mileage and the way the fuel stops work out. We've got a good start, we just need to have a good finish for the team.

"I want to get that victory on Sunday, that's what I'm thinking about."

Reutimann ended up third in the order while Penske's Kurt Busch was fourth fastest ahead of his team-mate Keselowski, who stood on provisional pole for a while. Bowyer's team-mate Jeff Burton, Hendrick Motorsports' Jeff Gordon, Earnhardt Ganassi's Juan Pablo Montoya and RCR's Paul Menard rounded out a top 10 dominated by Chevrolet Impalas.

Points leader Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) qualified only 19th in the order, right behind RCR rival Kevin Harvick, while Roush Fenway's Greg Biffle was 20th on his first weekend with new crew chief Matt Puccia.

David Stremme was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers in 29th while Scott Riggs, Tony Raines and Dennis Setzer failed to make the field for Sunday's event, which kicks off the second half of the Cup season.

Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Ryan Newman Stewart Haas Chevrolet 28.165s 2. Tony Stewart Stewart Haas Chevrolet 28.200s + 0.035s 3. David Reutimann Waltrip Toyota 28.263s + 0.098s 4. Kurt Busch Penske Dodge 28.352s + 0.187s 5. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 28.392s + 0.227s 6. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 28.398s + 0.233s 7. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 28.408s + 0.243s 8. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 28.469s + 0.304s 9. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 28.471s + 0.306s 10. Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota 28.476s + 0.311s 11. Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet 28.484s + 0.319s 12. Clint Bowyer Childress Chevrolet 28.510s + 0.345s 13. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 28.541s + 0.376s 14. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota 28.545s + 0.380s 15. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 28.550s + 0.385s 16. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 28.560s + 0.395s 17. AJ Allmendinger Petty Ford 28.613s + 0.448s 18. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 28.617s + 0.452s 19. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 28.632s + 0.467s 20. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 28.639s + 0.474s 21. Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota 28.651s + 0.486s 22. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 28.658s + 0.493s 23. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 28.671s + 0.506s 24. Mark Martin Hendrick Chevrolet 28.697s + 0.532s 25. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 28.702s + 0.537s 26. David Ragan Roush Fenway Ford 28.710s + 0.545s 27. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 28.739s + 0.574s 28. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 28.767s + 0.602s 29. David Stremme Inception Chevrolet 28.804s + 0.639s 30. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 28.826s + 0.661s 31. Casey Mears Germain Toyota 28.827s + 0.662s 32. Landon Cassill Phoenix Chevrolet 28.879s + 0.714s 33. Michael McDowell HP Toyota 28.985s + 0.820s 34. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 28.986s + 0.821s 35. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 29.007s + 0.842s 36. Jeff Green Front Row Ford 29.036s + 0.871s 37. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 29.080s + 0.915s 38. JJ Yeley Front Row Ford 29.086s + 0.921s 39. Mike Skinner Germain Toyota 29.128s + 0.963s 40. Erik Darnell Whitney Chevrolet 29.257s + 1.092s 41. Mike Bliss FAS Lane Ford 29.303s + 1.138s 42. Scott Wimmer Gordon Dodge 29.694s + 1.529s 43. Andy Lally TRG Chevrolet 29.318s + 1.153s Did not qualify: Tony Raines Front Row Ford 29.368s + 1.203s Scott Riggs Whitney Chevrolet 29.499s + 1.334s Dennis Setzer K-Automotive Chevrolet 29.521s + 1.356s 
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