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Archive for Saturday, September 22, 2001

Newman wins Busch pole

September 22, 2001

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— Ryan Newman, continuing to establish himself as one of the top young prospects in NASCAR, won the pole Friday for the MBNA.com 200.

Despite running at difficult Dover Downs International Speedway for the first time, Newman breezed to the top starting spot for today's Busch series race. His Ford got around The Monster Mile in 23.131 seconds at 155.536 mph.

That fell short of Mike Skinner's Busch track record of 155.932. Skinner qualified third, trailing Newman and defending series champ Jeff Green.

It was the fifth pole in Busch series competition in just 13 tries for the first-year competitor, a 23-year Purdue graduate who drives for Roger Penske.

Next year, Newman will become a Winston Cup teammate to Rusty Wallace and Jeremy Mayfield.

"We've been on a roll in qualifying so we hope we can just keep it up," Newman said. "You just go out and give it everything you've got, and right now we're doing that pretty well."

Newman will be looking for his second Busch series victory. He got his first Aug. 18 in Brooklyn, Mich.

Newman went faster than he thought he would, noting that only he and series points leader Kevin Harvick picked up speed between practice and qualifying on the concrete track.

Harvick qualified fourth in a Chevrolet.

Green got around at 153.938 in a Ford, but knew he was no threat for the pole.

"For some reason when I get here, there always seem to be bumps in turns three and four," he said. "But I could have fell off a cliff and not beat Ryan Newman today."

Skinner, who went 153.407 in a Chevy, felt the same way.

"Ryan Newman is just on fire in this thing," Skinner said. "I just hope we can race two spots better than we qualified."

After Harvick, whose speed was 153.506, came Green's brother, David. His Chevy went 152.717, just ahead of the 152.606 posted in a Chevy by Jimmy Spencer. He won the Dover Busch race in June, and is looking for his fourth win this year. Elton Sawyer, Greg Biffle, Jason Keller and Bobby Hamilton Jr. completed the top 10.

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