Newman leads qualifying in Phoenix

April 10, 2008 at 9:59 PM

PHOENIX, April 10 (UPI) -- Ryan Newman captured the pole Thursday for Saturday night's running of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at the Phoenix International Raceway.

Newman circled the one-mile track in 26.975 seconds. It was his first pole of the season and the 43rd of his Sprint Cup career.

The fastest qualifying time came four days after Newman won the Sprint Cup race in Texas and then failed the post-race inspection -- for which he was penalized 25 points.

Elliott Sadler turned in the second-fastest time Thursday, followed by Carl Edwards and Mark Martin.

Two-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson qualified seventh and Jeff Gordon, who last week suffered only the second last-place finish of his career, qualified 11th.

"I can't remember the last time we struggled this bad," Gordon said.

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