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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."




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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)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS, finished eighth and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, finished 35th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualified for seventh position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualified for sixth position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Johnson is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, qualified for second position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Gordon leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s Chevrolet SS, won the pole position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Harvick is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with the pole award after qualifying fastest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with his wife DeLana, son Keelan, and the pole award after qualifying fastest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, August 17, 2014 in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS finished second. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with a burnout after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
With General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, holds the Michigan Heritage Trophy after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. In 2013, MIS began awarding the Michigan Heritage Trophy as a recognition and celebration of the automobile and it`s importance to the race track and the manufacturers competing in NASCAR. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with his crew after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, Justin Allgaier, driver of the #51 Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet, and Michael Annett, driver of the #7 Allstate Peterbilt/Pilot Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, lead the field to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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