Ryan Newman won his second pole of the season and earned Jeff Gordon's admiration.
Newman set a track record yesterday by completing a lap around Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway at 128.709 mph, eclipsing the mark of 127.216 mph Gordon set a year ago.
It took Newman just 14.908 seconds to lap the 0.533-mile bullring, making him the first driver to do it in less than 15 seconds.
In addition to losing his record, Gordon had to settle for second in qualifying for Sunday's Food City 500, turning a lap at 127.343 in his No. 24 Chevrolet.
As the two passed each other after, four-time Winston Cup champion Gordon bowed as if to say, "I'm not worthy."
Newman's reply: "Man, I never thought I'd run a lap that fast."
Qualifying is quickly turning out to be Newman's specialty. Last season's top rookie now has nine career poles in 45 attempts, and two in just six races this season.
Still, Newman never thought his No. 12 Dodge would be so fast.
"I was so surprised with that lap," he said. "I knew we had a fast car in practice, but I didn't think we were capable of going that fast, let alone beat Jeff. That's the most amazed I've ever been after a qualifying run -- to go that fast and not anticipate it."
Gordon was also impressed, and he knows a thing or two about Bristol, having won there five times.
"My God that's an unbelievable lap that Ryan put out there," he said. "Those guys have to be real proud of that."
Ken Schrader qualified third in a Dodge, the best qualifying effort ever for BAM Racing, which fields his No. 49 Intrepid. The team's previous best effort was 16th at Texas last season with Shawna Robinson behind the wheel.
Rusty Wallace, Newman's teammate at Penske Racing South, qualified fourth. Wallace, who has won nine races at Bristol, is looking to end his 67-race winless streak.
Bill Elliott qualified fifth, giving Dodge four Intrepids in the top five on the starting grid.
It was a boost for the manufacturer, the only one on the circuit without a victory this season.
Mike Skinner qualified sixth, followed by Jimmy Spencer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., defending champion Kurt Busch (the highest qualifying Ford), and Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart.
* CART: In Monterrey, Mexico, Paul Tracy posted a fast lap early and wound up winning the provisional pole in the opening round of qualifying for the second race of the season.
The winner of the season opener last month in St. Petersburg, Fla., added another point to his early lead in the Champ Car World Series standings and could add another today in the final round of time trials for Sunday's Monterrey Grand Prix.
Tracy's fast lap was timed in 1 minute 17.220 seconds, a speed of 98.089 mph on the 2.104-mile road course in Fundidora Park.