Winning poles never gets old for Ryan Newman, NASCAR's Rocketman.
Still smarting from the indignity of being penalized 25 points after his fourth-place car was found to be an eighth of an inch too high after last Sunday's race at Texas, Newman bounced back Thursday with his 43rd career pole.
The Daytona 500 winner will start Saturday night's Subway Fresh Fit 500 from the front, a solid chance to get back to Victory Lane.
Newman, who drives for Penske Racing, has won at least one pole in each of his eight seasons in NASCAR and moved into a tie with NASCAR pioneer Buck Baker for 10th on the career qualifying list.
Asked if the thrill of winning poles has lessened over the years, Newman, whose last pole came at Charlotte last October, shook his head and said, `No. It's been a while for me.
"I was really happy. I was as happy after practice as I am now because it's been a while since, even in practice, we were P1 (position one). We've won some poles but we hadn't been P1 in practice. To be P1 in practice and then back it up in qualifying, that shows consistency and I that's a good thing for the race this weekend."
Newman's fast lap on the mile Phoenix oval was 133.457 mph, just 0.045 faster than runner-up Elliott Sadler's 133.412.
"I thought it was a good lap, a bit conservative, but a good lap," Newman said. "Obviously, it wasn't too conservative because it was good enough. I think we've got a good car. It's been a while since we've had a car this good around this racetrack."
Being docked 25 points dropped Newman from eighth to 10th in the standings, but he said that he and the No. 12 Dodge team have put it behind them.
"We learn from our mistakes," he said. "You have to think positive and go forward.
"You never make up points that you lost, but you can make the effort, obviously, to put yourself in position so those points didn't matter," Newman added. "Obviously, we're trying to do that."
For Sadler, it was his best performance in qualifying since he was runner-up to Newman in March 2007 at Atlanta.
"You know, this sport's a lot about momentum, it's a lot about confidence, it's a lot about what have you have done for me the last few or last weeks," Sadler said. "So, to come off a weekend like we had a Texas, where we struggled a little bit and missed the setup a little bit and had a long day, to come here _ even though it's qualifying day _ it means a lot to me and my race team."
Carl Edwards, coming off a win at Texas, his third victory of the season, was third at 133.378, followed by Mark Martin at 133.368, Kasey Kahne at 133.304, Kyle Busch at 133.274 and two-time reigning Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson at 133.240.
Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, the defending winner of this event, qualified 11th, just ahead of two-time series champion Tony Stewart and fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Among the drivers outside the top 35 in car owner points, who had to qualify on speed, Dave Blaney, David Reutimann, Mike Skinner, former open-wheel stars Dario Franchitti and Patrick Carpentier, Joe Nemechek and Johnny Sauter, who replaced Jeremy Mayfield this week in the No. 70 Chevrolet, made the 43-car field.
Bill Elliott got the former Cup champion's provisional and will start last.
Failing to make the field were Kyle Petty and John Andretti. For Petty's team, which had Chad McCumbee in the No. 45 Dodge two weeks ago in Martinsville, it was the third straight race they have missed since falling out of the top 35.
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