When it comes to qualifying, Charlotte Motor Speedway is very friendly to NASCAR driver Ryan Newman. On Friday, Newman got a little tense as he noticed the quickest way around the track was to hug the outside wall. After running what he called “the most courageous lap” he has ever run at Charlotte, Newman will take the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday.
Newman was clocked at 187.546 on Friday and captured his second straight pole at the Coca-Cola 600. He noticed in practice that Juan Pablo Montoya was getting the fastest times by driving on the high side, but Newman has had his most success in the past by driving closer to the apron.
“It tells you how much things have changed between the tires, the race track and the cars,” Newman said. “To be able to do something different than I’ve always done to create an ultimate fast lap.”
Newman has now won the pole for the ninth time out of nineteen races at Charlotte and it is his 46th pole win in his career. However, he has yet to win a Sprint Cup race at Charlotte and will look to finally end this drought in NASCAR’s longest race.
“It’s been easier for me to go out and run one lap and do it fast than it is to go out and run 600 miles fast,” Newman said. “I could do that, it’s just a matter of putting yourself in the track position, putting yourself in the right position, right tires, a good pit crew and things like that.”
The competition will be in abundance on Sunday as last weekend’s All-Star race winner Kurt Busch will start beside him after finishing second in qualifying with a lap of 187.292. Busch has raced well recently and stated he is very happy with the way his team is producing as of late.
“It’s just a good vibe we have,” Busch said. “Things are going good, and hopefully we can get it put together for the full 600 miles.”
Starting in the third position will be Martin Truex Jr. and he will be followed by Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson and the defending Coca-Cola 600 champion David Reutmann. But for Newman, who has his odds to win on Sunday set at 20/1 according to NASCAR sportsbooks, will his decision to hug the wall in qualifying carry over to the race on Sunday?
“I’ve never run into a corner at 200 mph up against the wall and made it stick and still come out the other end,” said Newman. “To have the courage to put yourself in that position is tough enough, let alone doing it, pulling it off and winning that pole. I’ve never been a guy to run the wall, let alone in qualifying.”
Busch has his odds for Sunday set at 8/1, along with Jeff Gordon, while brother Kyle has his set at 6/1. Johnson enters the race with odds set at 7/2.