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Newman wins pole at New Hampshire

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 20, 2013 at 5:31 pm •  Published: September 20, 2013
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LOUDON, N.H. (AP) — Ryan Newman used a track-record lap to fuel his run at a championship.

Newman set the New Hampshire Motor Speedway qualifying record with a lap of 136.497 mph to win the pole and headline a top 12 loaded with Chase drivers for Sunday's race.

Chase for the Sprint Cup championship drivers filled 10 of the top 12 spots Friday. Kasey Kahne was second and joins Newman on the front row, Jeff Gordon was third and Kurt Busch fourth for what will be the second Chase race.

Joey Logano qualified sixth, Kevin Harvick was eighth, series points leader and last week's winner Matt Kenseth was ninth, and Greg Biffle starts 10th. Jimmie Johnson is 11th and Kyle Busch 12th.

Martin Truex Jr. starts fifth the same week he found out NAPA was dumping sponsorship of his Michael Waltrip Racing No. 56 car after the race-fixing attempts at Richmond earlier this month.

"This is definitely not the time of year you want to find out that you really don't have a ride next year," Truex said. "It's going to be tough, but we'll have to deal with it and figure it out."

Truex did qualify for the Chase with NAPA last season, finishing 11th in points, and was in contention for the final Chase wild card berth at Richmond while driving with a broken wrist.

He got a new cast this week and still doesn't know if he'll need surgery at the end of the season.

The Chase moves on Sunday to New Hampshire, where NASCAR has a 13-driver championship field for the first time since the title-deciding format began in 2004.

Newman is eighth in the standings, certainly within striking distance of Kenseth. He won his second pole of the season and 51st in 432 career Cup races. Newman won from the pole this season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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