Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet, led the two-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Saturday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway by qualifying second for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. Newman turned a lap of 50.098 seconds at 191.145 mph on the 2.66-mile oval.
“Going into this race, we said that our mission was to get the U.S. Army team into victory lane, and our solid second-place qualifying effort was a step in the right direction,” said Newman, who has a best Talladega finish of third, earned in April 2009. “My job behind the wheel in qualifying is a very small percentage of what that lap was about today. That run was a tribute to the engineering and teamwork involved in building this U.S. Army Chevy. It says a lot about the hard work that goes into these racecars behind the scenes.
“Anything can happen tomorrow, but our race team is as prepared as it can be. We want to honor the more than 1 million Army Strong Soldiers we represent by getting their racecar into victory lane on Sunday.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet for SHR, will start fourth after turning a lap of 50.138 seconds at 190.993 mph.
“Our partnership with Mobil 1 really pays off at a place like this,” said Stewart, who has one Sprint Cup victory at Talladega, earned in October 2008. “Their engine oil, chassis lubricants, gear oil – even their power steering fluid – helped both of us get a good starting spot. It’s about reducing friction, heat and rolling resistance, and seeing where we ended up, I’d say their stuff did a really good job of that.
“This is the car that we won with at Daytona back in July, so we know it’s a good piece. We were in 15-car packs yesterday during practice and it’s going to be a lot different when we’re in a 43-car pack for the race. We went out and got in a pack long enough and ran enough laps to get the balance of the car ok and make sure there were no vibrations. Then we parked it to take care of it. It’s a whole new experience tomorrow when we get out there with 43 cars.”
Kasey Kahne captured his 25th career Sprint Cup pole, his third of the season and his first at Talladega by posting a lap of 50.017 seconds at 191.455 mph.
Newman will start on the outside of row one, with Stewart directly behind him. Clint Bowyer was third (50.105 seconds at 191.119 mph). Greg Biffle (50.148 seconds at 190.955 mph) rounded out the top-five.
Forty-three drivers attempted to qualify for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500, and with the field set at 43 cars, every driver qualified.
As far as manufacturers went, Chevrolet took the top spot via Kahne’s pole run. Toyota was next best at the hands of Bowyer. Ford was the third-fastest make thanks to Biffle, while 10th-quick Sam Hornish Jr. (50.234 seconds at 190.628 mph) carried the flag for Dodge.
The Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 gets underway at 2 p.m. EDT on Sunday with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with a pre-race show at 1 p.m.