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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

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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)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, lead a group of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet SS, qualified fifth Friday, July 4, 2014 for Saturday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Johnson is 2nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Bobby Labonte, driver of the #33 Thunder Coal Chevrolet SS, qualified fourth Friday, July 4, 2014 for Saturday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Landon Cassill, driver of the #40 Newtown Building Supplies Chevrolet SS, qualified third Friday, July 4, 2014 for Saturday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Reed Sorenson, driver of the #36 Golden Corral Chevrolet SS, qualified second Friday, July 4, 2014 for Saturday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Cars on track during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway on June 27, 2014 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, puts a winner sticker on his car as he celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, celebrates with a backflip after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, celebrates i Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, celebrates i Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Brendan Gaughan, driver of the #62 South Point Chevrolet, leads Sam Hornish, Jr., driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, through a turn during the Gardner Denver 200 Fired Up by Johnsonville race at Road America on June 21, 2014 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualified third Saturday, June 21, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in Sanoma, California. Larson is 8th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kingsford/Clorox Chevrolet SS, qualified second Saturday, June 21, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in Sanoma, California. He will be sharing the front row with pole winner, Chevy`s Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Cessna Chevrolet SS. Allmendinger is 21st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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