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NASCAR

Newman claims another pole at New Hampshire

Ryan Newman endured a near one-hour rain delay - the second race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Newman, who was the quickest driver in practice earlier in the day and therefore the last one to make his qualifying attempt, turned a lap at 135.002 mph for his third pole of the season. He started on the pole and won at New Hampshire two months ago.

"This was the same car we had here in July," said Newman, who is one of the 12 Chase drivers. "We've got a good starting spot. I feel like we've got a really good race car. We just need to keep our nose clean."

Newman's 49th career pole placed him in a tie with Bobby Isaac for ninth on the all-time Sprint Cup Series' pole winners list. Six of his poles have come at this 1.058-mile track.

Kahne, who was the second-to-last qualifier, posted a lap at 134.763 mph to earn the outside pole. Vickers held the provisional pole before Newman and Kahne made their runs. He will start third.

Greg Biffle qualified fourth, while Kurt Busch, a championship contender, completed the top-five.

With five drivers remaining in the 45-car field for qualifying, a light rain fell on the racetrack, forcing the lengthy delay for track-drying efforts. Juan Pablo Montoya was the first of the five to make his attempt when qualifying resumed. Montoya felt the track was not dry enough when he made his run. He ended up qualifying 31st.

"They [NASCAR] know the track is in bad condition and tried to work on it," he said. "As soon as I went, the windshield was full of rain. I asked, 'Should I go, should I go?' And then I tried to go. We had a car that was fast enough to be on pole. It's a frickin' joke."

Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kahne and Newman were next in line.

"It was a little dramatic," Newman said. "You have to look at what the 48 [Johnson] did. It was raining when he went out. It was a tough situation, and it was tough call. I thought NASCAR did a good job moderating the situation with us drivers."

Kevin Harvick took the sixth spot, followed by Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Johnson. Harvick, Gordon, Busch and Johnson are all in the Chase.

"I don't think it was ideal conditions for anyone, but I think NASCAR did their best job to give us drivers what we were looking for in a dry racetrack," Johnson said.

The other Chase drivers and their starting positions include: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (12th), Brad Keselowski (16th), Tony Stewart (20th), Carl Edwards (23rd), Matt Kenseth (27th) and Denny Hamlin (28th). Stewart won last Monday's rain- delayed race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Steve Park and T.J. Bell failed to qualify.

Teams are scheduled to practice on Saturday morning, but the weather does not look promising. According to the National Weather Service, the forecast calls for a 60 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms in the area throughout the day.

Sunday's 300-lap race at New Hampshire is scheduled to start just after 2:00 p.m. (et). Partly cloudy skies are in the forecast for that day.