JOLIET, Ill. (AP) -- Bill Elliott isn't jealous of NASCAR's kiddie corps, even though the young drivers got advantages he never had.
"You can't compare the era I came in and today," Elliott said Friday after finishing behind two of Winston Cup's twenty-somethings, Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch, in qualifying for the Tropicana 400.
"I was doing all my own stuff, working on my own car, had no money," said Elliott, who at 46 was racing before either Newman, 24, or Busch, 23, were born. "These guys have come in and got good equipment. I'm not saying anything negative about that. It's just an evolution, a different era. They're the guys to beat each and every week."
Rookie Newman, who won the pole for the inaugural Busch series race a year ago at Chicagoland Speedway, made it 2-for-2 on the 1 1/2-mile oval, turning a lap of183.051 mph to earn his second Winston Cup pole of the season and the third of his budding career.
Busch's lap of 182.593 was only 0.0074 seconds slower than Newman as Fords swept the front row for Sunday's race.
"For me, it's a fun racetrack," Newman said. "It's fast and it's got pretty good banking and you stick pretty good. This is a place where you've got to keep your speed up in the corners and I've adapted pretty well here."
Busch, coming off a disappointing race in Daytona in which he was held in the pits for four laps as punishment for cursing NASCAR officials over the radio during the Pepsi 400, just wanted to put that behind him.
"It was a good lap," Busch said of his qualifying effort. "We prepared for it, went for it and just came up a little bit short.
"I was disappointed, as a matter of fact. I thought we would win our first pole of the year."
Elliott, third at 182.451 in a Dodge, said, "These guys have made a few racing mistakes, being young, but overall they've done very well."
Busch, in his second season, said, "It's evident with Bill Elliott being successful, and Newman being successful and with us, that the age doesn't really have anything to do with it.
"It has to do with where your program is as far as aerodynamics and your chassis dynamics, and knowing what to apply to specific race tracks. I can tell you that Chicago is very comparable to a Fontana and to an Atlanta, and we saw Bill Elliott sit on the pole at one of those races and we saw Newman sit on the pole at the other, and we were at the top five at all three race tracks."
Series points leader Sterling Marlin was fourth in another Dodge at 182.192, followed by the Chevrolet of last week's Daytona winner Michael Waltrip at 181.953 and the Pontiac of Tony Stewart at 181.616.
Mark Martin, second in the points, was 13th at 181.245, while fourth-place Rusty Wallace, Newman's Penske Racing South teammate, was eighth at 181.531.
Kevin Harvick, who won the inaugural race here last year, qualified 32nd.
It was another bad day for rookie Jimmie Johnson, who remained third in the standings despite losing 25 championship points earlier this week when crew chief Chad Knaus was also fined $25,000 for using unapproved parts on Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet.
Johnson crashed in the morning practice and had to go to his backup car for qualifying. He had to use his first provisional and will start 37th.
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