Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet, led the two-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Thursday night at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway by qualifying third for the Charlotte 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday night. Newman turned a lap of 27.943 seconds at 193.251 mph on the 1.5-mile oval.
“It was a good lap for our Quicken Loans Chevrolet. I got everything I could out of it,” said Newman, who has eight top-10 finishes in 23 career Sprint Cup starts at Charlotte. “I got just a little bit free getting into (turn) three and had to counter-steer just a little bit, which kind of cost me some confidence off of (turn) four. They said I had a good lap going. I’m just really proud of the guys on this Quicken Loans Chevy. We picked up a lot from practice, and they did a great job getting me a car that could’ve won the pole. I want that 50th pole so bad, and I would’ve really liked to have gotten it tonight, but we’ll keep pushing for it.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet for SHR, will start 32nd after cutting a lap of 28.483 seconds at 189.587 mph.
“We were pretty loose there, especially in (turns) one and two,” said Stewart, who won at Charlotte in October 2003. “Good news is that we have all day tomorrow to get the Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevy ready for 500 miles on Saturday.”
Greg Biffle captured his 12th career Sprint Cup pole, his third of the season and his first at Charlotte by setting a new track qualifying record of 27.877 seconds at 193.708 mph. Biffle’s run bested the previous mark of 27.948 seconds at 193.216 mph set by Elliott Sadler on Oct. 15, 2005.
Mark Martin will start on the outside of row one after turning a lap of 27.927 seconds at 193.361 mph. Newman was third, while Clint Bowyer (27.973 seconds at 193.043 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (27.980 seconds at 192.995 mph) rounded out the top-five.
Forty-seven drivers attempted to qualify for the Charlotte 500. Those not making the cut in the 43-car field were Joe Nemechek, Josh Wise, Scott Riggs and Cole Whitt.
Ford took the top spot among manufacturers via Biffle’s pole run. Toyota was next-best at the hands of Martin. Chevrolet was the third-fastest make thanks to Newman, while Sam Hornish Jr., carried the flag for Dodge with the 14th-quickest lap (28.174 seconds at 191.666 mph).
The Charlotte 500 gets underway at 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday with live coverage provided by ABC beginning with a pre-race show at 7 p.m.