Newman, who will be pulling double duty this weekend at the 1.058-mile oval, captured the pole position for Saturday's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event, the New England 100, with a fast lap of 128.402 miles per hour. It was Newman's sixth career pole at NHMS, where he owns two Sprint Cup victories (including the first of his NASCAR career in 2002) and four Sprint Cup poles, including the track's Cup qualifying record of 133.357 m.p.h. set Sept. 12, 2003.
``I really like the race track, but let me say this, I've never really enjoyed flat tracks the way I've enjoyed banked tracks,'' said Newman, who will drive the No. 7 car fielded by Kevin ``Bono'' Mannion (crew chief for Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray) in tomorrow's Modified race and then pilot the No. 39 Chevrolet for owner/driver Tony Stewart in Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 Sprint Cup race.
``But I've had success at a lot of flat tracks, especially here,'' he said. ``It just happens, I guess, I don't know. Maybe it'll hit me when I'm sitting on my rocking chair someday that, `Yeah, that's why I was good there[at NHMS]. A lot of great things happened to me here in Loudon and this is another one of them.''
Newman's Modified pole victory yesterday, his second at NHMS after capturing the pole (127.453 m.p.h.) two years ago in his Modified debut, prevented series points leader Bobby Santos, of Franklin, Mass., from capturing his fourth pole of the season after he posted the second fastest lap (127.907).
``Had a great run,'' said Santos, who has won three races and three poles in four Modified Tour events this season. ``We had a really good car. I guess we didn't need a ring to come in and kick our butts a little bit, but other than that I'm happy.''
To which Newman cracked, ``As long as you're happy, I'm cool with it.''
``Somebody asked me earlier, `Why do you do this for?' and it's sure not for the money,'' Newman said. ``It's all about coming up here and having fun and our intention is to do that.''
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