HAMPTON, Ga. – On the advice of his teammate, Tony Stewart took the high road
He wound up with the pole for Sunday nights NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Stewart turned a fast lap of 186.121 mph on Friday to take his first pole of the season and second of his career at the 1.54-mile tri-oval. He also was on the pole at Atlanta for the season finale in 2002, setting him up to clinch the first of his three Cup titles.
This time, Stewart hopes starting at the front helps him lock down his spot in this years Chase for the Sprint Cup title. He is the defending champion and, as a three-time winner this season, all but assured of at least a wild-card spot in the playoff. But if he drops below his current position, 10th, hell lose nine bonus points.
While never known as a strong qualifier – this was only his 14th career pole – Stewart took advantage of a timely tip from teammate Ryan Newman. The Rocket failed to tie the Atlanta record for most poles, settling for the 17th-fastest speed, but he came all the way down pit road to pass along what he thought was the best line to take on the sticky track.
Stay high, Newman said, instead of the customary line along the bottom that most drivers take because its a bit shorter.
That pole is 100 percent due to Ryan Newman, Stewart said. Im not sure if wed have run the line Id planned on running wed have been that fast. Its awesome having a teammate like that. I dont ever remember being here and seeing anybody run up at the top like he did.
Greg Biffle (185.648) will start on the outside of the front row for the AdvoCare 500. Kyle Busch (185.493) and Kenseth (185.319) took spots on the second row.
Michael McDowell, Josh Wise, Stephen Leicht and Mike Bliss failed to make the 43-car field.
NHRA: Tony Schumacher raced to the Top Fuel qualifying lead in the U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. Schumacher had a run of 3.814 seconds at 324.67 mph.
Jack Beckman topped the Funny Car field, Erica Enders led in Pro Stock, and Andrew Hines was the fastest in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Beckman finished in 4.051 seconds at 302.62 mph, Enders had a pass of 6.624 at 208.84, and Hines ran a 6.928 at 194.21.
TRUCKS: In Hampton, Ga., Ty Dillon raced to his first NASCAR Truck victory, passing Kyle Busch with six laps to go.
After starting from the pole, Dillon won the Jeff Foxworthys Grits Chips 200 by 3.227 seconds.