A record-breaking lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned Ryan Newman the pole for Sunday’s Brickyard 400 in the Sprint Cup Series.
No. 39 with Stewart-Hass Racing, Newman fired off a lap of 187.531 mph and just edged out Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson by a fraction of a mile. It’s Newman’s first pole victory since Martinsville last season, and also gives him an edge to move up from 19th in standings.
There are seven races left until the Chase for the Cup and plenty of drivers like Newman are jostling for better position, or just hoping to make the 12-driver field. Rounding out the top five behind Newman and Johnson are Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, and Tony Stewart.
Stewart is currently in 13th place in the stanings, just three points behind Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr. for the final spot in the Chase.
Meanwhile Sunday represents a milestone of sorts for NASCAR. Racing purists have suggested NASCAR has treaded on sacred ground by running a race on the 2.5 mile track made famous by the Indianapolis 500, but the Brickyard 400 has become one of the most celebrated races in the circuit. Sunday will be the 20th anniversary of NASCAR’s first race held at Indy.
Johnson won last year at the Brickyard by dominating the field with 99 laps led. The next closest was Hamlin, who led 27 laps, and defending Cup champion Brad Keselowski’s 22 laps led.
The weather calls for a high of 73 degrees and mostly sunny, making for near perfect conditions for a solid race as the Chase for the Cup creeps up.
Coverage of the race beings at 1 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast by ESPN, or watch their live online stream at Watch ESPN here.
8.Juan Pablo Montoya
15.Dale Earnhardt Jr.
25.Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
38.Martin Truex Jr.