Ryan Newman scores 50th career Cup pole back home in Indiana

Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs
Known as "Rocket Man" because of his uncanny ability to put his car on the Sprint Cup pole, Ryan Newman last scored a first-place start in September, 2011. Saturday afternoon he scored his 50th career pole in qualifying for the 20th running of the Brickyard 400.

The native of South Bend, Indiana and Purdue University graduate drew the last slot in qualifying for the Crown Royal Presents The Samuel Deeds 400 at The Brickyard. He set a new track record and knocked defending race winner Jimmie Johnson off the top of the pylon.

Johnson went out 11th and sweated through the rest of the session until Newman wheeled the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevy around Indianapolis Motor Speedway around the narrow track and became the ninth driver to score 50 or more career Cup poles.

"I did miss Turn 2 a little bit on my turning point, and felt like that I made that mistake and then the lap tracker showed that." said Johnson. "But Ryan hit all four corners great and got it done. Happy for him. It's got to be a big day for him, being a hometown boy and all. Very happy for Ryan and very happy for our team."

Newman got teary-eyed over his achievement.

"I got emotional on the backstretch when they told me that. It's special to me because it's Indiana, but it's more special to me because it's the Brickyard, because it's Indy, because of the history of auto racing at this facility." Newman said.
            "So many drivers who are my heroes, so many drivers I've admired, so many drivers that have worked so hard in their career to get to here on this day, to be the fastest one, that's what's themost special to me. Yeah, it's awesome to get that standing ovation from all the Indiana guys and girls that are here.  It does feel like home again in Indiana."

When asked why he hadn't won a pole since September (2011,) Newman said, " Actually I woke up this morning and had a couple chocolate chip cookies and just decided to try harder."

No confirmation on whether they were soda cookies.

Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, and Tony Stewart round out the top five starting positions.

Edwards said, "We brought a brand new car here that everyone worked very hard on, and we were not very good at the beginning of practice.  Everybody worked really hard to get the car right, and we had a great 1 and 2 and not so great at 3 and 4, and I thought I was going to be the most disappointed guy in the place until Ryan ran his lap and I feel bad for Jimmie..."

The race begins at 1 p.m. (ET) with coverage on ESPN beginning at 12 p.m. (ET).

Full starting lineup:

Rank Driver Time Speed
1   Ryan Newman 47.992   187.531  
2   Jimmie Johnson 48.016   187.438  
3   Carl Edwards 48.088   187.157  
4   Denny Hamlin 48.097   187.122  
5   Tony Stewart 48.173   186.827  
6   Kurt Busch 48.200   186.722  
7   Kasey Kahne 48.223   186.633  
8   Juan Pablo Montoya 48.248   186.536  
9   Jeff Gordon 48.264   186.474  
10   Marcos Ambrose 48.314   186.281  
11   Joey Logano 48.399   185.954  
12   Brad Keselowski 48.408   185.920  
13   Matt Kenseth 48.442   185.789  
14   A.J. Allmendinger 48.477   185.655  
15   Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 48.486   185.621  
16   Jeff Burton 48.531   185.448  
17   Clint Bowyer 48.534   185.437  
18   Jamie McMurray 48.601   185.181  
19   Kyle Busch 48.622   185.101  
20   Austin Dillon 48.659   184.961  
21   Aric Almirola 48.703   184.794  
22   Travis Kvapil 48.734   184.676  
23   Paul Menard 48.742   184.646  
24   Kevin Harvick 48.756   184.593  
25   Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 48.771   184.536  
26   Mark Martin 48.832   184.305  
27   Greg Biffle 48.901   184.045  
28   Trevor Bayne 48.938   183.906  
29   Landon Cassill 48.962   183.816  
30   Casey Mears 48.979   183.752  
31   David Reutimann 49.092   183.329  
32   Josh Wise 49.168   183.046  
33   Danica Patrick 49.197   182.938  
34   Bobby Labonte 49.227   182.826  
35   Michael McDowell 49.229   182.819  
36   David Ragan 49.329   182.448  
37   David Stremme 49.539   181.675   OP
  Martin Truex, Jr. 49.577   181.536   OP
39   J.J. Yeley 49.658   181.240   OP
40   Joe Nemechek 49.772   180.825   OP
41   Dave Blaney 50.034   179.878   OP
42   David Gilliland 50.126   179.548   OP
43   Timmy Hill 50.344   178.770   OP

DNQ: Mike Bliss, Scott Speed 
Ryan Newman scores 50th career Cup pole back home in Indiana Ryan Newman scores 50th career Cup pole back home in Indiana Reviewed by Janine Cloud on Saturday, July 27, 2013 Rating: 5