Ambrose to start from pole at Watkins Glen

Despite two straight wins at Watkins Glen, this is the first pole for Marcos Ambrose

Despite two straight wins at Watkins Glen, this is the first pole for Marcos Ambrose

Marcos Ambrose’s push for a third-straight win at Watkins Glen got a massive boost as the Australian broke the track record on the way to pole for the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen.

The pole brings not only the number one starting spot, but also guaranteed entry in the Sprint Unlimited season opener in 2014, plus a championship point as he strives to jump inside the top-20 in points and fight for a wildcard entry in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

With a lap average speed of 206.384 km/h (128.241 mph), it is Ambrose’s first pole at Watkins Glen International and third of his career.

“These days don’t come around that often and I just have to thank Stanley and DeWalt and Ford and Richard Petty Motorsports and everyone on our outstanding team to put us in this position to be able to through down a lap like that,” said Ambrose.

“It was a great lap, but it wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t the cleanest lap I could have done, but it certainly carried a lot of momentum and it was enough to get the job done.

“These new Gen-6 race cars are a lot faster around here and the speeds are record speeds. I think the new car really suits this race track. I think it’s more comfortable for the drivers to be aggressive and today I was very aggressive today to try to throw down a fast lap. I’m looking forward to the race and feel like we have as good a chance as anybody to win and go three in a row.”

Ambrose was the fastest of 10 drivers who broke the previous qualifying record. It marked the 12th time this season that a track record has fallen, thanks to the advent of the lighter, fastest sixth generation of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car this year.

Victory would see him equal the three-peat record at Watkins Glen which was set by Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin.

“Those two names are awesome names in NASCAR competition and it would be fantastic, but we haven’t won the race yet so there’s no point in even thinking about it,” said Ambrose.

“I’ve just got to go out there and do the best job that I can and the team can put their best foot forward as well and see if it goes our way. I hate putting that kind of pressure and I hate thinking about that kind of stuff – I really don’t.

“It’s a chance for us to win and a chance to enjoy what NASCAR is all about in road racing. I like road racing. I tend to like it more and more when I can run this well. We’re just gonna have fun tomorrow and enjoy it.”

Clint Bowyer will share the front row with Ambrose.

Fellow Tasmanian Owen Kelly will start the race from 23rd on his Sprint Cup debut. Kelly upstaging the likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr, Gordon and Danica Patrick.

The changes made to Kelly’s #51 car overnight saw him looser than anticipated affecting his overall time, however the Phoenix Racing machine was in a similar window to the other Hendrick-built cars.

“The car yesterday was a bit tight, so we made a change and the track had changed for qualifying, so we were a bit loose. This affected us being able to get back on the throttle early, which leads to a substantial difference in overall time,” said Kelly post-session.

“To be the first of the non-regular drivers in the most competitive field in the world, all in all I’m pretty happy. With the number of things I’ve had to learn this weekend – the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars, the track and those around me, I’m happy.

“We’re starting mid-field and there are some pretty big names behind me.”

Here is how Marcos Ambrose scored pole 

Marcos Ambrose speaks at the post-qualifying press conference

STARTING LINE-UP: CHEEZ-IT 355 AT THE GLEN

POS 

driver

Car #

Make

Sponsor

MPH

Best Time

Behind

1

Marcos Ambrose 9 Ford Stanley / CTC Jumpstart 128.241 68.777 Leader

2

Clint Bowyer 15 Toyota Peak/Duck Dynasty 127.958 68.929 –0.152

3

Martin Truex Jr 56 Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 127.462 69.197 –0.420

4

AJ Allmendinger 47 Toyota Scott Products 127.433 69.213 –0.436

5

Kyle Busch 18 Toyota M&M’s 127.400 69.231 –0.454

6

Jamie McMurray 1 Chevrolet McDonald’s/Monopoly 127.374 69.245 –0.468

7

Paul Menard 27 Chevrolet Menards / Splash 127.146 69.369 –0.592

8

Brad Keselowski 2 Ford Miller Lite 127.141 69.372 –0.595

9

Joey Logano 22 Ford Shell-Pennzoil 127.111 69.388 –0.611

10

Matt Kenseth 20 Toyota The Home Depot / Husky 127.038 69.428 –0.651

11

Juan Pablo Montoya 42 Chevrolet Target 126.932 69.486 –0.709

12

Michael McDowell 35 Ford Dockside Logistics 126.823 69.546 –0.769

13

Kurt Busch 78 Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing-Denver Mattress 126.813 69.551 –0.774

14

Ryan Newman 39 Chevrolet Haas Automation 30th Anniversary 126.766 69.577 –0.800

15

Brian Vickers 55 Toyota Toyota Camry 30th Anniversary 126.515 69.715 –0.938

16

Carl Edwards 99 Ford Kelloggs / Cheez-it 126.464 69.743 –0.966

17

Greg Biffle 16 Ford 3M / 811 126.377 69.791 –1.014

18

Jimmie Johnson 48 Chevrolet Lowe’s 126.357 69.802 –1.025

19

Kasey Kahne 5 Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 126.321 69.822 –1.045

20

Denny Hamlin 11 Toyota FedEx Ground 126.209 69.884 –1.107

21

David Gilliland 38 Ford Long John Silver’s 126.124 69.931 –1.154

22

Jeff Burton 31 Chevrolet Caterpillar 126.086 69.952 –1.175

23

Owen Kelly 51 Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Services Inc. 126.011 69.994 –1.217

24

Ron Fellows 33 Chevrolet Canadian Tire 125.924 70.042 –1.265

25

Dale Earnhardt Jr 88 Chevrolet National Guard 125.876 70.069 –1.292

26

Kevin Harvick 29 Chevrolet Budweiser 125.711 70.161 –1.384

27

Boris Said 32 Ford U.S. Chrome 125.707 70.163 –1.386

28

Jeff Gordon 24 Chevrolet Drive To End Hunger 125.591 70.228 –1.451

29

Max Papis 14 Chevrolet Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 125.589 70.229 –1.452

30

Casey Mears 13 Ford GEICO 124.890 70.622 –1.845

31

David Ragan 34 Ford Taco Bell 124.848 70.646 –1.869

32

Aric Almirola 43 Ford Smithfield 124.793 70.677 –1.900

33

Ricky Stenhouse Jr 17 Ford Best Buy 124.576 70.800 –2.023

34

Victor Gonzalez Jr 36 Chevrolet Mobil 1/IMCA 123.878 71.199 –2.422

35

Danica Patrick 10 Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 123.750 71.273 –2.496

36

David Reutimann 83 Toyota Burger King / Dr. Pepper 123.708 71.297 –2.520

37

Alex Kennedy 19 Toyota MediaMaster 123.687 71.309 –2.532

38

Travis Kvapil 93 Toyota Burger King / Dr. Pepper 123.637 71.338 –2.561

39

David Stremme 30 Toyota Genny Light 123.157 71.616 –2.839

40

Dave Blaney 7 Chevrolet TBA 123.095 71.652 –2.875

41

Landon Cassill 40 Chevrolet Interstate Moving Services 122.004 72.293 –3.516

42

Tomy Drissi 87 Toyota The Counselor 120.295 73.320 –4.543

43

Brian Keselowski 52 Toyota Star Coach Race Tours 118.924 74.165 –5.388

 

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