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After wait, Newman back on top
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published June 3, 2006
DOVER, Del. - Ryan Newman thought a little rain might extend his pole drought.
Instead, the rain only delayed the wait and didn't keep Newman from putting himself on the pole for the first time this season with a lap of 154.633 mph Friday at Dover International Speedway.
Newman has 36 career poles in 165 starts - but none had come this year. Rain interrupted qualifying and could have wiped out the lap had it continued. Newman worried his spot would not stand.
"That was my initial feeling," he said. "That was definitely a big gainer. Mother Nature did work out for us."
Jeremy Mayfield joins him on the front row for Sunday's Neighborhood Excellence 400 after a lap of 154.361.
Nextel Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson starts a season-worst 42nd, but it could have been worse. He spun his No. 48 Chevrolet as he finished his first qualifying lap. Johnson maintained control, putting the car maybe a foot from the wall but never hitting it.
Ricky Rudd proved an able replacement for the injured Tony Stewart. With Stewart's broken shoulder blade making him unable to drive the majority of the race, Rudd came out of a season-long rest to qualify the car 10th with a lap of 152.931. Stewart will start from the back and is set to be relieved by Rudd at the first caution.
Martin win all in fun
No wonder Mark Martin wants to run the full NASCAR Truck Series schedule so badly. He's having a blast racking up the wins.
Martin drove his No. 6 Ford to an easy victory at Dover, beating fellow Nextel Cup star Carl Edwards by 3.052 seconds. It was Martin's third win in six races this season and gave team owner Jack Roush the top two spots.
"We set it up to race well and it raced well," Martin said. "The truck racing is the most fun I've had in years and years."
It's a big reason why Martin plans to step down from full-time Cup racing after this season and run a full truck schedule - which has 25 races compared to 36 plus two exhibitions for Nextel Cup - in 2007 and '08. He would have driven trucks full-time this season, but was coaxed into returning by Roush.