Ryan Newman won his third straight pole and eighth of the year Friday night, grabbing the top spot for Sunday's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 with a speed of 191.575 mph in a Dodge at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Newman has won the pole in 26 of his 113 career races. He's led that category the past two years, and has two more poles than anyone else this season.
"That's the toughest part. We have no excuse now," Newman said. "We've proved we're the fastest racecar on a given lap. We have to be able to do that for 60 laps in a row here."
Kurt Busch, who holds a 96-point lead over Jeff Gordon in the championship chase, qualified 22nd at 187.722. Gordon, seeking his fifth NASCAR title, will start 10th.
When it comes to qualifying, Newman has been unbeatable on this 1.54-mile tri-oval. He claimed his fourth straight Atlanta pole, but has yet to win a Nextel Cup race at the track.
Joe Nemechek claimed the outside of the front row at 191.318 -- a mere 39-thousandths of a second off Newman's time.
Elliott Sadler took the third spot at 191.080. Truck series star Carl Edwards will make the best start of his Nextel Cup career, posting the fourth-fastest speed (191.080).
Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Gordon completed the top 10.
Teammates Gordon and Johnson -- the winner the last two weeks -- were back on the track just five days after a team plane crashed while en route to Martinsville, Va., for last weekend's race. The crash killed 10, including the son, brother and twin nieces of team owner Rick Hendrick, along with his general manager and chief engine builder.
Fifty-eight drivers attempted to make the 43-car field, the most since 59 hit the track for the 1999 Daytona 500.
Home state favorite Bill Elliott barely made it in, claiming the 38th -- and final -- spot based on time.