LOUDON, NH (WWLP) - Kasey Kahne thought he had taken care of business. That was until Ryan Newman got on the track.
Kahne broke the track record during NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. He was just the 8th of 43 cars to take time. But some 29 cars later, Ryan Newman spoiled Kahne's party. The Rocket Man also broke the track record on both of his qualifying laps, 27.904 being the faster of the 2. Newman's laps put him on the pole for Sunday's running of the 17th annual Sylvania 300. Kahne will join Newman on the front row on Sunday.
Jeff Gordon qualified 3rd, with Kurt Busch 4th. Martin Truex, Jr. rounded out the top 5. Truex is dealing with sponsor NAPA leaving the #56 Toyota at the end of this year following the Richmond race controversy. Newman has been on the pole at NHMS 7 times.
During a post qualifying news conference, Newman was pleased about winning the pole with a speed of 136.497 mph at a place where it's tough to pass.
According to Newman, "The most important (factor) is the confidence to know that you have the fastest race car. I really thought Kasey's lap was going to be tough to beat. I really didn't t feel like I had a lot of speed in my lap."
Despite breaking the track record, Kahne explained how his lap was not quite good enough, "We had a really good lap, went out pretty early. I felt like I missed it a bit off turn 2. Just didn't get quite enough there."
A playful Jeff Gordon took the opportunity to talk NFL and racing, "I wanted to beat him(Kahne) because I'm still mad at him over his Seahawks beating my 9ers. It feels good that we're picking things up. It's been an up and down season for us. If you ever want to peak, you want to do it when the chase comes around."
NHMS Jerry Gappens said only about 1,000 tickets remained for Sunday's race as of Friday afternoon. At least one private ticket seller along Route 106 in Loudon had signs out seeking to buy tickets.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR K&N East Series, and the American Canadian Tour will race Saturday afternoon as part of NASCAR weekend in New Hampshire. Newman will again be driving the #7 Chevrolet in the Modified Tour race and will start from the pole after winning his 2nd first starting spot of the day on Friday afternoon.
Ryan told 22News, "We made the car definitely better car than we were in the 1st race (here). I think we're going to have a better long run car."