Ambrose wins Watkins Glen pole, breaks track record

When NASCAR comes to the road courses of Sonoma and Watkins Glen, the name that instantly pops into your mind when thinking of drivers with a chance to win has to be Marcos Ambrose.

Ambrose, who has won the past two races at Watkins Glen which included his first career Sprint Cup victory in 2011, lived up to his road racing reputation Saturday afternoon by winning the pole for Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at the Glen.

The qualifying session was broken up into seven groups based on practice times from Friday with the slowest cars taking time first and the fastest cars at the end of the session.

Ambrose was part of the seventh and final group to qualify, and took the top-spot away from provisional pole sitter Clint Bowyer on his first timed lap.

“It’s never as easy as it looks,” Ambrose said. “I lost my cool yesterday in practice. I felt like I was behind and made some changes coming into today’s qualifying.”

The Australian’s pole-winning lap of 128.241 mph/68.777 seconds  broke the previous track record for a Sprint Cup Series car at Watkins Glen.

“We got a lot of laps to do tomorrow,” Amrbose said about his Chase chances being bolstered if he could win his third-straight race at Watkins Glen.

“There’s no guaranteed success.”

One of the gurantees many thought coming into the weekend would be that Tony Stewart would challenge Marcos Ambrose for the win come Sunday.

But, following a sprint car crash in Iowa that required two surgeries on his tibia and fibula, the three-time Sprint Cup champion is replaced in the No.14 this weekend by Max Papis.

Papis qualified the No.14 Chevrolet 29th.

Cheez-It 355 at the Glen Starting Lineup 

  1. Marcos Ambrose
  2. Clint Bowyer
  3. Martin Truex Jr.
  4. AJ Allmendinger
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Jamie McMurray
  7. Paul Menard
  8. Brad Keselowski
  9. Joey Logano
  10. Matt Kenseth
  11. Juan Pablo Montoya
  12. Michael McDowell
  13. Kurt Busch
  14. Ryan Newman
  15. Brian Vickers
  16. Carl Edwards
  17. Greg Biffle
  18. Jimmie Johnson
  19. Kasey Kahne
  20. Denny Hamlin
  21. David Gilliland
  22. Jeff Burton
  23. Owen Kelly
  24. Ron Fellows
  25. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  26. Kevin Harvick
  27. Boris Said
  28. Jeff Gordon
  29. Max Papis
  30. Casey Mears
  31. David Ragan
  32. Aric Almirola
  33. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  34. Victor Gonzalez Jr.
  35. Danica Patrick
  36. David Reutimann
  37. Alex Kennedy
  38. Travis Kvapil
  39. David Stremme
  40. Dave Blaney
  41. Landon Cassill
  42. Tommy Drissi
  43. Brian Keselowski

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