Ryan Newman won his 50th NASCAR Sprint Cup pole Saturday with a record-breaking lap of 187.531 mph at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Indiana native became the ninth driver in the history of the sport to break the 50-pole barrier and will start at the front of Sunday’s Brickyard 400.
Newman, 35, ended a 63-race drought without a pole. He racked up 43 poles while at Penske Racing and has seven since he moved to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009.
In 2003, Newman earned a career-high 11 poles — and the moniker “Rocketman” in the process.
“I’ll admit I was emotional, for me,” Newman said.
“Especially because it was the Brickyard and I hadn’t won a pole here before, and I’ve won so many poles. It’s been so long since I’ve won a pole people ask me if I’ve run out of fuel for the rockets.”
Considering that it’s been 49 races since Newman won an event, at Martinsville in April 2012, a victory would go a long way for the driver who is without a ride for next year.
“It’s special for me for a lot of reasons,” Newman said.
“Being at home, being in Indiana, being at the Brickyard and being so long not winning a pole. Hopefully, we can turn it into a good day (on Sunday).”