Ambrose to start from third row at Watkins Glen
Australia’s Marcos Ambrose will start from fifth place on the grid for the Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen, while Juan Pablo Montoya scored his second-straight pole position and ninth of his career.
Ambrose comes into the race as the defending winner, but former F1 star Montoya tasted success at Watkins Glen in 2010.
“I made a mistake in turn six and just didn’t quite have enough rear grip there,” said Ambrose.
“That’s OK. We’ve got a great race car and we’ll just play the strategy game and see what comes out of it. I feel great about tomorrow.”
With seven wins in F1 and both his wins in NASCAR coming on road courses, Montoya is expected to run well at Watkins Glen.
“I think the lap was a pretty good lap,” said Montoya.
“You always make mistakes here and there. It’s never perfect. You always think, ‘Oh, I went too far here, I went too little there, I lost it there’ — but I think everybody does.
“It’s about how well you can put it all together, and I think we did a pretty good job of that. I think [Sunday] in the race we’re going to have a decent car.”
The battle between Ambrose and Montoya is not just for the race win, but under NASCAR rules they both have a chance to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The top 10 drivers in the standings qualify for the Chase, along with the two drivers from positions 11-20 with the most victories. The drivers already sitting on one victory ahead of Ambrose are Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. If Ambrose or Montoya can win this weekend, plus gain another victory in any of the following four races, it could vault them into the fight for the title over the final 10 races of the season.
RACE LINEUP : Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen | Watkins Glen International
|3||Jimmie Johnson||Chevrolet||Lowe’s Cortez Silver||126.925||-0.052|
|4||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Miller Lite||126.626||-0.216|
|6||Ryan Newman||Chevrolet||U.S. Army||126.312||-0.389|
|7||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Office Depot / Mobil 1||126.150||-0.479|
|8||Clint Bowyer||Toyota||5-hour Energy||126.061||-0.528|
|9||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||NAPA Auto Parts||126.049||-0.535|
|12||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet||Drive to End Hunger||125.643||-0.761|
|13||Regan Smith||Chevrolet||Furniture Row / Farm American||125.612||-0.778|
|14||Joey Logano||Toyota||The Home Depot||125.518||-0.831|
|16||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew||125.500||-0.841|
|17||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||Shell / Pennzoil||125.420||-0.886|
|20||Kasey Kahne||Chevrolet||Farmers Insurance||125.339||-0.931|
|22||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Menards / Rheem||125.199||-1.010|
|23||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||FedEx Freight||125.080||-1.077|
|24||Matt Kenseth||Ford||Ford EcoBoost||124.917||-1.169|
|26||Bobby Labonte||Toyota||Miller Welders / Freightliner||124.715||-1.283|
|27||Kurt Busch||Chevrolet||Phoenix Construction Services||124.455||-1.431|
|31||Dave Blaney||Chevrolet||Tommy Baldwin Racing||124.108||-1.629|
|32||David Ragan||Ford||Scorpion Coatings / Al’s Liners||123.868||-1.767|
|33||Brian Vickers||Toyota||My Classic Garage||123.710||-1.858|
|35||Landon Cassill||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||123.471||-1.996|
|36||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||Genny Light / AM-FM Energy||123.436||-2.016|
|37||J.J. Yeley||Chevrolet||Tommy Baldwin Racing||123.270||-2.112|
|38||Josh Wise*||Ford||MDS Transport||122.531||-2.544|
|39||Stephen Leicht*||Chevrolet||Little Joes Autos.com||122.335||-2.659|
|40||Chris Cook||Toyota||Plinker Tactical||118.879||-4.755|
|41||Jason Leffler||Toyota||America Israel Racing||118.742||-4.841|
|42||Travis Kvapil+||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||-||-|
|43||Patrick Long||Toyota||Inception Motorsports||117.551||-5.593|
+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie