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Ambrose claims maiden Cup pole at Michigan

Marcos Ambrose will start from pole position for Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 Sprint Cup race, his first start from pole position in the series.
Richard Petty Motorsports' Marcos Ambrose claimed his first pole position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, with a new track qualifying record time of 35.426s (203.241mph).

“There is no I in team, and I am part of a great car to get this pole today," said a thrilled Ambrose afterwards. "We've had a great car from the moment we got here. We've gotten under some things that really helped my feel behind the wheel and allowed us to get better setups. We knew we had a good car going into today's session and I just needed to do the same thing I did yesterday at the end of the second practice."

When it was pointed out to him that this was the fastest pole position in the last 25 years of the Cup series, Ambrose laughed: “It is going to sound great at the bar when you have had about six too many!

"It is good bragging rights, I will give it that. I am really excited to get the speed and to claim to be the fastest guy out there. It is just awesome," he said. "This is my first pole in Sprint Cup and we have missed some by thousandths of a second and conditions changing. It is good that we actually got one to stick and one that has so many records attached to it - it is the fastest lap at Michigan ever, and everything you said.

"It felt that fast to me, too. It felt like I was getting it done. Really fun times out there," he added. "We were wide open for about 98 percent of the lap, and I felt very good about how we got the car dialed in to do that."

Ambrose beat Kevin Harvick for pole by just 0.211s, while Greg Biffle and Kasey Kahne will start from behind them on the second row. Carl Edwards suffered an engine problem and was unable to set a qualifying lap, meaning that the #99 will start from the back of the field.

The build-up to qualifying at Michigan International Speedway had been an unusually eventful and even controversial one. Drivers got an extra day of practice coming into the two-mile oval, following the complete repaving of the oval since the series' last visit here, and drivers were immediately lightning fast.

NASCAR insisted that it wasn't worried about the record speeds attained by drivers in the practice sessions leading into Sunday's race, which saw several drivers top the 200mph mark on Thursday and Friday - the kind of benchmark that often has NASCAR worried about safety and start talking about restrictor plate racing. The previous NASCAR Sprint Cup track record coming into this weekend was 194.232mph.

"Time will take care of all of it. We're not concerned right now. We're confident in it," said NASCAR vice president for competition Robin Pemberton on Thursday. "The grooves will widen out and the pace will slow down."




Related Pictures

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2012 Michigan June June NASCAR New Pavement (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the No. 9 Stanley Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday in Brooklyn, Mich. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place racing with Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS who finishes in eleventh place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet SS, finishes in eighth place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for third position Friday, March 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Truex, Jr. is third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, March 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Johnson is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, qualifies for 2nd position Friday, March 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Newman is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, March 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Gordon is 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
A view of a decal placed on the #14 Code 3 Associates / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, driven by Tony Stewart (not pictured), during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott (left) congratulates his son Chase Elliott, driver of the #25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. This will mark Chase Elliott`s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brett Moffitt, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, races during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in third place and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS finishes in second place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #88 taxslayer.com Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive4Clots.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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