Sunday, October 21, 2007

Busch, Newman Starting Beside One Another At Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 19, 2007) Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman will start beside one another in Sunday's Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway, as a result of the Penske Racing teammates earning the 11th and 12th starting positions, respectively, in Friday's rain-delayed qualifying session.

Busch, who went out 40th in the 48-driver qualifying order, recorded a lap of 20.068 seconds, 94.359 mph, in his Miller Lite Dodge Avenger. Newman's Alltel Dodge Avenger followed Busch. The Indiana native posted a 20.072-second, 94.340-mph lap, just 0.004 second behind Busch and 0.134 second in arrears to pole winner Jeff Gordon.

Sam Hornish Jr., who was attempting to make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut in his Mobil 1 Dodge Avenger, was 38th quickest with a lap of 20.347 seconds, 93.065 mph. However, under NASCAR rules, he wasn't quick enough among those required to qualify on time to make it into the field. He was bumped from the grid by former Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton.

The rain certainly didnt help with getting practice time, said Hornish, who will attempt to qualify for next weekend's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a 1.5-mile track where he competed in a NASCAR Busch Series event earlier this year.

Its tough, but we knew it was going to be tough. That qualifying lap was our own fault. The car was good on the warm-up lap, but it had way too much push on the qualifying lap. Its frustrating, but well keep working at it.

Newman noted he had a "decent starting spot" that hopefully, "will turn into a good day."

"We definitely have a car we can work with tomorrow [Saturday] and Sunday," Newman said. Here you need to be good on long runs and old tires. You can do 150 laps on fuel, but you have to have good tires.

Busch noted he picked up almost five-tenths of a second from practice to qualifying and that was a "nice gain."

"With the weather being such an issue earlier, we were just glad that everything played out as well as it did," Busch said. "We'll be strong here on Sunday and that's what matters most."

Sundays Subway 500 will be televised by ABC and broadcast by MRN Radio beginning at 1 p.m. EDT.

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