Friday, October 14, 2005
Johnson makes Newman eat his words
CONCORD, N.C. -- Jimmie Johnson proved that
Lowe's Motor Speedway is still his house.
As the 47th of 50 drivers scheduled to qualify for Friday's
Busch Series Dollar General 300, Johnson knocked fellow NASCAR
star Ryan Newman off the pole with a lap of 187.735 miles per
It was the second pole in eight starts on the Busch circuit
this season for Johnson, who set a record by winning each of
the last three Nextel Cup events here.
Newman, who gave Johnson a note saying, "This is my house
tonight," had been the only driver to turn in a lap of under 29
seconds before Johnson circled the 1.5-mile oval in 28.764
seconds in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
"Pretty creative on his part," Johnson said of Newman's note.
"It always works out that way here that I get a late draw and
him an early one."
Seeking a single-season record with a fifth straight Busch
Series victory, Newman will settle for starting on the outside
of the front row in a Dodge Charger. He also qualified second
here Thursday for Saturday's Nextel Cup series event.
Kyle Busch, who won the spring event here and became the NASCAR
Craftsman Truck Series' youngest winner with a checkered flag on
this track in May, qualified third in a Chevrolet.
The Dodges of rookie Reed Sorenson, who is third in the points
standings, and Regan Smith rounded out the top five. Eight of
the last 11 Busch Series winners here have started within the
first two rows.
Newman, who leads the Cup Series this season with six poles,
including the spring race here, has won his last four starts on
this circuit to tie the single-season record set by Sam Ard in
1983. Ard's four straight wins came in as many races while
Newman's have come over a seven-race span.
A fifth straight win would tie him with Dale Earnhardt Jr., who
won five in a row from 2002-04. Earnhardt, who won back-to-back
Busch Series titles beginning in 1998, will start from the rear
of the field in a Chevrolet with a champion's provision.
Martin Truex Jr., who is seeking to be the next back-to-back
champion on this circuit, will start 14th in a Chevrolet. Truex
holds a 49-point lead over Clint Bowyer, who will start ninth
in another Chevrolet.
Nextel Cup points leader Tony Stewart qualified his
Chevrolet 25th, one spot behind the Ford of Elliott Sadler, who
won the pole for Saturday's UAW-GM Quality 500 here on
Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Adrian Fernandez, Kertus
Davis and Ashton Lewis all spun into the wall entering turn 1.
Davis failed to qualify for the race.