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Watkins Glen: Cup qualifying

Richard Petty Motorsport's Marcos Ambrose claimed pole position for this weekend's Watkins Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race ahead of Clint Bowyer.
Two-time Watkins Glen Cup race winner Marcos Ambrose claimed his first pole at the iconic New York State road course on Saturday, setting a new track qualifying record time of 68.777s (128.241mph) in the process. It's the Australian's third pole in 177 series, the previous poles having come at Michigan and Sonoma in 2012.

"I'm just thankful to [sponsors] Stanley and DeWalt and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to get this pole today," said Ambrose. "It's a very special moment for me. I've never had a pole position here, so I dug deep and put down a solid lap and it was enough."

With qualifying on the road course now modelled on the more efficient Nationwide Series system and run in practice-set groups of five or six cars out in track at the same time rather than each car having the 2.45-mile track to itself for the duration, there was an early red flag for a spin by Brian Keselowski. Jamie McMurrary set an early provisional pole benchmark that wasn't bested until the penultimate group put Clint Bowyer, AJ Allmendinger and Kyle Busch ahead of him into the top three positions.

However the pole sitter came from the final group of the day, with Ambrose - a two-time winner at Watkins Glen - pipping Bowyer by just 0.152s ahead of the Michael Waltrip Racing car. Bowyer's team mate Martin Truex Jr. managed to slide onto the second row just ahead of JTG Daugherty Racing's AJ Allmendinger, bumping Busch down to the third row alongside McMurray.

The previous track qualifying record at the Glen had been Juan Pablo Montoya's 2012 benchmark of 69.438s (127.02mph). That was beaten by the top ten qualifiers this year, with Montoya the first of the cars just outside.

"This new Gen-6 race car is a lot faster for us, especially on road races," explained Ambrose. "It's got more downforce, it's lighter and those two factors really help a lot - the centre of gravity is lower - so all of those are good things for a race car to go fast."

Carl Edwards had topped practice on Friday with a lap of 68.693s (128.397mph) after what had proved to be a shortened amount of track time after a downpour had hit the venue earlier in the day, but he managed only 16th place in qualifying putting him just ahead of Roush Fenway Racing team mate Greg Biffle who starts alongside Cup championship leader Jimmie Johnson who qualified 18th.

Making his Cup début, Australia's Owen Kelly produced a very creditable lap of 69.994s (126.011mph) in the Phoenix Racing #51 to put him into 23rd place on the grid putting him alongside Ron Fellows for the start of Sunday's race. Both men were ahead of FAS Lane Racing's road course 'ringer' Boris Said in 27th while Tony Stewart's stand-in in the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Max Papis will start from 29th.

Qualifying times

1. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 68.777s (Pole) 128.241mph
2. #15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 68.929s (+ 0.152s) 127.958mph
3. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 69.197s (+ 0.420s) 127.462mph
4. #47 AJ Allmendinger Toyota 69.213s (+ 0.436s) 127.433mph
5. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 69.231s (+ 0.454s) 127.400mph
6. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 69.245s (+ 0.468s) 127.374mph
7. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 69.369s (+ 0.592s) 127.146mph
8. #2 Brad Keselowski Ford 69.372s (+ 0.595s) 127.141mph
9. #22 Joey Logano Ford 69.388s (+ 0.611s) 127.111mph
10. #20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 69.428s (+ 0.651s) 127.038mph
11. #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 69.486s (+ 0.709s) 126.932mph
12. #35 Michael McDowell Ford 69.546s (+ 0.769s) 126.823mph
13. #78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 69.551s (+ 0.774s) 126.813mph
14. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 69.577s (+ 0.800s) 126.766mph
15. #55 Brian Vickers Toyota 69.715s (+ 0.938s) 126.515mph
16. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 69.743s (+ 0.966s) 126.464mph
17. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 69.791s (+ 1.014s) 126.377mph
18. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 69.802s (+ 1.025s) 126.357mph
19. #5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 69.822s (+ 1.045s) 126.321mph
20. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 69.884s (+ 1.107s) 126.209mph
21. #38 David Gilliland Ford 69.931s (+ 1.154s) 126.124mph
22. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 69.952s (+ 1.175s) 126.086mph
23. #51 Owen Kelly Chevrolet 69.994s (+ 1.217s) 126.011mph
24. #33 Ron Fellows Chevrolet 70.042s (+ 1.265s) 125.924mph
25. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 70.069s (+ 1.292s) 125.876mph
26. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 70.161s (+ 1.384s) 125.711mph
27. #32 Boris Said Ford 70.163s (+ 1.386s) 125.707mph
28. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 70.228s (+ 1.451s) 125.591mph
29. #14 Max Papis Chevrolet 70.229s (+ 1.452s) 125.589mph
30. #13 Casey Mears Ford 70.622s (+ 1.845s) 124.890mph
31. #34 David Ragan Ford 70.646s (+ 1.869s) 124.848mph
32. #43 Aric Almirola Ford 70.677s (+ 1.900s) 124.793mph
33. #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 70.800s (+ 2.023s) 124.576mph
34. #36 Victor Gonzalez Jr. Chevrolet 71.199s (+ 2.422s) 123.878mph
35. #10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 71.273s (+ 2.496s) 123.750mph
36. #83 David Reutimann Toyota 71.297s (+ 2.520s) 123.708mph
37. #19 Alex Kennedy Toyota 71.309s (+ 2.532s) 123.687mph
38. #93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 71.338s (+ 2.561s) 123.637mph
39. #30 David Stremme Toyota 71.616s (+ 2.839s) 123.157mph
40. #7 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 71.652s (+ 2.875s) 123.095mph
41. #40 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 72.293s (+ 3.516s) 122.004mph
42. #87 Tomy Drissi Toyota 73.320s (+ 4.543s) 120.295mph
43. #52 Brian Keselowski Toyota 74.165s (+ 5.388s) 118.924mph

Practice 2 times

1. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 68.693s (Leader) 128.397mph (8 laps)
2. #35 Michael McDowell Ford 69.284s (-0.591s) 127.302mph (12 laps)
3. #15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 69.322s (-0.629s) 127.232mph (12 laps)
4. #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 69.328s (-0.635s) 127.221mph (10 laps)
5. #2 Brad Keselowski Ford 69.338s (-0.645s) 127.203mph (16 laps)
6. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 69.391s (-0.698s) 127.106mph (18 laps)
7. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 69.428s (-0.735s) 127.038mph (11 laps)
8. #55 Brian Vickers Toyota 69.432s (-0.739s) 127.031mph (9 laps)
9. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 69.576s (-0.883s) 126.768mph (14 laps)
10. #78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 69.590s (-0.897s) 126.742mph (10 laps)
11. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 69.638s (-0.945s) 126.655mph (8 laps)
12. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 69.653s (-0.960s) 126.628mph (10 laps)
13. #13 Casey Mears Ford 69.675s (-0.982s) 126.588mph (8 laps)
14. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 69.685s (-0.992s) 126.570mph (10 laps)
15. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 69.704s (-1.011s) 126.535mph (14 laps)
16. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 69.720s (-1.027s) 126.506mph (14 laps)
17. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 69.739s (-1.046s) 126.472mph (6 laps)
18. #47 AJ Allmendinger Toyota 69.741s (-1.048s) 126.468mph (3 laps)
19. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 69.742s (-1.049s) 126.466mph (13 laps)
20. #51 Owen Kelly Chevrolet 69.770s (-1.077s) 126.415mph (11 laps)
21. #43 Aric Almirola Ford 69.945s (-1.252s) 126.099mph (14 laps)
22. #33 Ron Fellows Chevrolet 70.167s (-1.474s) 125.700mph (5 laps)
23. #38 David Gilliland Ford 70.220s (-1.527s) 125.605mph (10 laps)
24. #34 David Ragan Ford 70.264s (-1.571s) 125.527mph (11 laps)
25. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 70.280s (-1.587s) 125.498mph (18 laps)
26. #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 70.387s (-1.694s) 125.307mph (10 laps)
27. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 70.390s (-1.697s) 125.302mph (14 laps)
28. #5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 70.396s (-1.703s) 125.291mph (4 laps)
29. #20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 70.729s (-2.036s) 124.701mph (11 laps)
30. #14 Max Papis Chevrolet 70.731s (-2.038s) 124.698mph (15 laps)
31. #22 Joey Logano Ford 70.828s (-2.135s) 124.527mph (18 laps)
32. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 71.072s (-2.379s) 124.100mph (11 laps)
33. #10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 71.420s (-2.727s) 123.495mph (10 laps)
34. #30 David Stremme Toyota 71.440s (-2.747s) 123.460mph (10 laps)
35. #32 Boris Said Ford 71.465s (-2.772s) 123.417mph (12 laps)
36. #19 Alex Kennedy Toyota 71.489s (-2.796s) 123.376mph (9 laps)
37. #36 Victor Gonzalez Jr. Chevrolet 71.690s (-2.997s) 123.030mph (9 laps)
38. #7 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 71.708s (-3.015s) 122.999mph (9 laps)
39. #93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 72.180s (-3.487s) 122.195mph (5 laps)
40. #40 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 72.584s (-3.891s) 121.514mph (7 laps)
41. #83 David Reutimann Toyota 72.785s (-4.092s) 121.179mph (7 laps)
42. #87 Tomy Drissi Toyota 73.159s (-4.466s) 120.559mph (13 laps)
43. #52 Brian Keselowski Toyota 74.700s (-6.007s) 118.072mph (8 laps)

Practice 1 times

1. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 69.319s (Leader) 127.238mph (18 laps)
2. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 70.436s (-1.117s) 125.220mph (9 laps)
3. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 70.444s (-1.125s) 125.206mph (17 laps)
4. #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 70.575s (-1.256s) 124.973mph (12 laps)
5. #13 Casey Mears Ford 70.624s (-1.305s) 124.887mph (8 laps)
6. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 70.700s (-1.381s) 124.752mph (14 laps)
7. #47 AJ Allmendinger Toyota 70.756s (-1.437s) 124.654mph (13 laps)
8. #15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 70.793s (-1.474s) 124.589mph (16 laps)
9. #2 Brad Keselowski Ford 70.829s (-1.510s) 124.525mph (11 laps)
10. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 70.891s (-1.572s) 124.416mph (14 laps)
11. #78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 70.941s (-1.622s) 124.329mph (10 laps)
12. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 70.973s (-1.654s) 124.273mph (13 laps)
13. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 71.029s (-1.710s) 124.175mph (10 laps)
14. #35 Michael McDowell Ford 71.057s (-1.738s) 124.126mph (12 laps)
15. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 71.073s (-1.754s) 124.098mph (9 laps)
16. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 71.083s (-1.764s) 124.080mph (13 laps)
17. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 71.085s (-1.766s) 124.077mph (13 laps)
18. #22 Joey Logano Ford 71.098s (-1.779s) 124.054mph (14 laps)
19. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 71.137s (-1.818s) 123.986mph (12 laps)
20. #5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 71.249s (-1.930s) 123.791mph (13 laps)
21. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 71.374s (-2.055s) 123.574mph (8 laps)
22. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 71.426s (-2.107s) 123.484mph (12 laps)
23. #43 Aric Almirola Ford 71.469s (-2.150s) 123.410mph (16 laps)
24. #32 Boris Said Ford 71.479s (-2.160s) 123.393mph (13 laps)
25. #33 Ron Fellows Chevrolet 71.554s (-2.235s) 123.264mph (14 laps)
26. #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 71.555s (-2.236s) 123.262mph (12 laps)
27. #14 Max Papis Chevrolet 71.563s (-2.244s) 123.248mph (12 laps)
28. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 71.576s (-2.257s) 123.226mph (12 laps)
29. #34 David Ragan Ford 71.690s (-2.371s) 123.030mph (14 laps)
30. #55 Brian Vickers Toyota 71.691s (-2.372s) 123.028mph (11 laps)
31. #20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 71.716s (-2.397s) 122.985mph (13 laps)
32. #38 David Gilliland Ford 71.735s (-2.416s) 122.953mph (9 laps)
33. #83 David Reutimann Toyota 71.809s (-2.490s) 122.826mph (8 laps)
34. #10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 71.949s (-2.630s) 122.587mph (12 laps)
35. #93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 72.063s (-2.744s) 122.393mph (15 laps)
36. #51 Owen Kelly Chevrolet 72.125s (-2.806s) 122.288mph (13 laps)
37. #30 David Stremme Toyota 72.371s (-3.052s) 121.872mph (8 laps)
38. #36 Victor Gonzalez Jr. Chevrolet 72.400s (-3.081s) 121.823mph (10 laps)
39. #7 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 72.451s (-3.132s) 121.737mph (4 laps)
40. #19 Alex Kennedy Toyota 73.167s (-3.848s) 120.546mph (14 laps)
41. #40 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 74.132s (-4.813s) 118.977mph (2 laps)
42. #87 Tomy Drissi Toyota 74.392s (-5.073s) 118.561mph (11 laps)
43. #52 Brian Keselowski Toyota 76.504s (-7.185s) 115.288mph (5 laps)



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Owen Kelly at Road America (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose talks to the media at Richmond International Raceway during a break in Cup testing. April 1 2013. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Harrelson Photography Inc)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley/CTC Jumpstart Ford, poses for a photo after winning the pole award during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 10, 2013 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, November 20, 2015 Sunday`s final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for thirteenth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick will be joined by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Truex, Jr. will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Sunday will be Gordon`s last race as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, advances to the Championship 4 with his fourteenth place finish Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Truex, Jr. is joined with Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS, advances to the Championship 4 with his sixth place finish Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway (renamed Jeff Gordon Raceway for the day to honor the four-time champion) in Avondale, Arizona. Gordon is joined with Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS  and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS advances to the Champion 4 with his second place finish. Harvick is joined with Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, lead the field onto pit road due to rain during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

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