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Newman grabs N.H. pole with new track qualifying record

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Updated: 9/20/2013 6:06 pm

Loudon, NH (Sports Network) - Ryan Newman will start on the pole for Sunday's Sylvania 300 -- the second race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship -- after setting a new track qualifying record at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Newman, who is one of the 12 drivers in the Chase field, turned a lap at 136.497 mph during Friday's qualifying for his second pole win of the season. Seven of his 51 career poles in the Sprint Cup Series have come at New Hampshire.

The previous track record at New Hampshire was 135.922 mph, set by Brad Keselowski two months ago.

After finishing 10th in last Sunday's Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway, Newman sits eighth in the point standings. He is in his fifth and final season with Stewart-Haas Racing before moving over to Richard Childress Racing in 2014.

"This track is the birthplace of track position, and qualifying great with our Quicken Loans Chevrolet is extremely important, obviously for where we are in the points and this time of year," Newman said. "It is really difficult to pass. Having a good pit selection and having all those things we've had so many times before. But great run for (crew chief) Matt (Borland) and all these guys to do what they did. Last time we were on the pole here, we led a lot of laps and we won (July 2011). I'm hoping we can duplicate that again."

Kasey Kahne will share the front row with Newman after making a lap at 136.082 mph in the early going of qualifying.

"On the first lap, I was sliding a little bit too much, so we didn't get there, but the second lap, I was able to pick up some speed and run a good lap," Kahne said.

Jeff Gordon qualified third, and Kurt Busch took the fourth spot. Chevrolet swept the first two starting rows, and the top-four finishers are in the Chase field.

Martin Truex Jr. in a Toyota placed fifth, followed by Joey Logano in a Ford. Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle completed the top-10.

Truex's top-five finish in qualifying comes one day after NAPA Auto Parts announced the termination of its sponsorship agreement with Michael Waltrip Racing after the season concludes in wake of MWR's attempt to manipulate the outcome of the Richmond race earlier this month. NAPA is the primary sponsor for Truex's No. 56 team.

"Obviously, a tough weekend for us to come here, but just so proud of my team for the focus and what they were able to do today," Truex said.

Logano, Harvick, Kenseth and Biffle are in the Chase as well. Kenseth's win at Chicagoland gave him an eight-point lead over Kyle Busch, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, and an 11-point advantage over Jimmie Johnson. Busch qualified 12th, one spot behind Johnson.

The other Chase drivers and their starting positions include: Clint Bowyer (16th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (17th) and Carl Edwards (26th).

All 43 drivers in the qualifying field made the starting lineup for Sunday's 300-lap race at New Hampshire, which is scheduled to start just after 2 p.m. ET.

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