Newman Slows Santos’ Roll – Sprint Cup driver earns Whelen Mod Coors Light Pole at NHMS

LOUDON, N.H. — With the season Bobby Santos is having, it’s taken a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver to steal some of his thunder.

Ryan Newman earned the Coors Light Pole Award Thursday for Saturday’s New Hampshire 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a lap of 29.663 mph (128.402) around the 1.058-mile oval. It’s Newman’s sixth pole at New Hampshire, with four coming in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition and the other in his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut in September 2008.

Santos will start on the outside of the front row after he posted a qualifying lap of 29.778 (127.907). Santos enters the weekend as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points leader after he became the first driver in Tour history to win three of the first four races. He finished second in the other race, and has three Coors Light Pole Awards.

Newman’s best finish in a NASCAR Modified is eighth, last September at New Hampshire. The South Bend, Ind., native who made his mark early in his career in open-wheel racing, will make his fifth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start — all for 2010 Daytona 500 winning crew chief Kevin Manion. Manion has fielded a Modified at New Hampshire and Bristol in recent seasons.

Todd Szegedy qualified third at 29.867 (127.525). Erick Rudolph and Rob Summers rounded out the top five.

Doug Coby was sixth, followed by Ron Silk, Ted Christopher, Rob Fuller and Jimmy Blewett.

Saturday’s New England 100 is scheduled to start at 1:10 p.m., prior to the NASCAR Nationwide Series race.