Newman Fastest at Dover

Dover, Del. ? Ryan Newman blazed to the Bud Pole at Dover International Speedway on Friday afternoon. The Indiana native?s speed of 152.925 miles per hour gave him the top starting position for the third time in 2007 and the 40th time in his successful career. He covered the banked mile track in 23.541 seconds.

Sunday?s Autism Speaks 400 will mark the debut of the Car of Tomorrow on The Monster Mile. A year ago, Newman scored the pole in the former car at a speed of 154.633 mph.

?Our Car of Tomorrow program is good, and our performance has been better than our results,? Newman said. ?Honestly, I didn?t think it was going to be as good of a lap as it was speed wise. We hadn?t been that fast in practice, and this lap didn?t feel any better. But it was smoother and more put together. Dover is one of my favorite race tracks, and I am looking forward to capitalizing on my starting position.?

Joining Newman in the front row will be crowd-favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr., who earned his best starting position of the season. His previous best qualifying position had been a fourth at the Lowe?s Motor Speedway a week ago. The Budweiser Chevrolet driver?s speed was 152.387 mph.

?We were pretty excited about the possibility of winning the pole,? he said. ?It would have given us a feather in our cap. Second is close and we can a take a sense in that accomplishment, as Ryan (Newman) is one of the best qualifiers we have.?

Bobby Labonte put his Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge on the inside of the second row with a speed of 152.304 mph with Kasey Kahne the fourth fastest in his Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge at 152.040 mph.

Said Labonte of his best effort of the season, ?Today was a very productive day on our part. We picked up from our practice speed, but I did lost grip in turn four. The car was too loose there.?

Kahne was pleased with his lap. ?It was a good lap for us,? he stated. ?I was slipping around a little bit and really didn?t want to go another lap. This is a fun track for me.?

Carl Edwards and point leader Jeff Gordon qualified fifth and sixth fastest. Elliott Sadler and Jamie McMurray were the seventh and eighth fastest drivers.

The ninth and tenth fastest qualifiers were Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle.

Scott Riggs, in 11th, was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.

Rookie Juan Pablo Montoya qualified 16th. Other rookies qualifying were David Ragan in 31st and A. J. Allmendinger claimed the 43rd and last starting position.

Michael Waltrip thrilled himself and his team by qualifying 23rd. It marked the first race he qualified for on time in 12 tries. Teammate Dale Jarrett qualified 22nd but David Reutimann, the third member of the team, failed to make the starting field.

?This is good,? said Waltrip with emotion in his voice. ?Having Bobby Kennedy back and being able to run and have information from him is good for us. When your heart and soul is into something, it is so hard to get it heading in the right direction. Knowing that you have been close so many times, I can?t explain it.?

Others failing to qualify were Dave Blaney, Paul Menard, Kenny Wallace, Mike Bliss and Kevin LePage.

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