The Rocket Man got his fuel back.
Ryan Newman snatched the pole away from Jimmie Johnson with a blistering lap of 187.531 mph around Indianapolis Motor Speedway to set a track record for NASCAR races at the Brickyard in Indianapolis.
Newman was the last of the 45 drivers to make a qualifying attempt Saturday as Johnson’s No. 48 was atop the scoring tower for well over an hour with a lap of 187.438. Driver after driver had failed to knock Johnson from the pole, and the four-time Brickyard winner watched and waited to see if Newman could get the job done.
Newman, an Indiana native, pulled it off as Johnson smiled his approval.
“You can’t count Ryan out, and he put up a whale of a lap,” Johnson said.
Added team co-owner Tony Stewart, “They don’t call him ‘Rocket Man’ for no reason. He had an awesome lap.”
It’s the 50th pole for Newman, who established himself as an elite qualifier with six poles his rookie season. He set a NASCAR record with 11 poles in 2003, and won at least one pole a year for 11 seasons.
But he’d been in a drought of late, and Newman’s last pole was late in the 2011 season.
“I just am ecstatic. It’s awesome because it’s my 50th. It’s awesome because it’s Indy, and it’s a track record on top of that, so it’s like a double-triple bonus,” Newman said.
Carl Edwards qualified third at 187.157.
Kyle Busch dominated to win the Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch had the fastest car to win for the eighth time in 15 races. Busch led 92 of 100 laps but had a late scare after he fell back to third on the final restart. Brian Scott had a career-best second-place finish. Joey Logano was third. … Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position for the fourth time this season after setting the fastest time at the end of qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Hamilton clocked 1 minute, 19.388 seconds, just ahead of three-time defending Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel’s best lap of 1:19.426.
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