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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)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, soc during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, drives in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, signs the Coors Light Pole board after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the Pole Award after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS qualifies in second position Friday, February 27, 2015 for a front row position start in Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS qualifies in third position Friday, February 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS qualifies in seventh position Friday, February 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development, speaks to members of the media after a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands in the garage during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer drives the #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS pulls into his pit on his way to a second place finish in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, Carlos Contreras, driver of the #15 BurnieGrill/BubbaGrill/LillyTrucking Chevrolet, Landon Cassill, driver of the #01 Flex Seal Chevrolet, and Blake Koch, driver of the #8 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Toyota, are involved in an on-track incident during qualifying for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Regan Smith, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, speaks at a press conference prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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