Newman Wins Coca-Cola 600 Pole
Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch gave Penske Racing a grip on the front row for the Coca-Cola 600 and hope to end Penske’s drought at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Newman won his 39th career pole Thursday with a lap at 185.312 mph. Busch, showing no ill effects after getting tangled up with brother Kyle Busch in a wreck during last weekend’s All-Star race, qualified second at 185.065. Roger Penske has won 14 Indianapolis 500s as a car owner, and Penske driver Helio Castroneves will be on the pole Sunday, but Penske has never won a race at Charlotte. Elliott Sadler qualified third, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth. Denny Hamlin was sixth, followed by Ricky Rudd, Dave Blaney, Bobby Labonte and David Stremme, giving Dodge five of the top 10 qualifiers. With the race a 100 miles longer than any other NASCAR competition, the pole Sunday night has less significance. With 49 drivers entered, six missed the race. That included Michael Waltrip, who failed to qualify for his 11th straight race after wrecking during his second qualifying lap.