Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ambrose Takes Michigan Cup Race Pole with 203.241 MPH Lap

Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Michigan International Speedway's brand new surface presented drivers the opportunity to orchestrate a rare feat in modern NASCAR Sprint Cup competition. With speeds exceeding the 200-mile per hour mark in Friday practice, the two-mile Michigan oval was providing an experience that was commonly seen at the Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway prior to restrictor plates were introduced during the late 1980s. With a qualifying time of 190.345 miles per hour recorded by Jamie McMurray in the second Michigan race of 2011, the 2012 qualifying session is set to become the fastest non-restrictor plate track time trial.

In the third practice Friday alone for Sunday's Quicken Loans 400, 14 cars exceeded 200 miles per hour for average speed around the two-mile track. Setting up what was going to be a fast qualifying session Saturday at Michigan International Speedway, speed in practice was repeated by NASCAR Sprint Cup cars. With 19 cars breaking the 200-mile per hour barrier in their timed laps into the Quicken Loans 400, the #9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford of Marcos Ambrose was the fastest during the very fast session. Lapping the two-mile, newly-paved oval in 35.426 seconds, the average speed through the pole-winning lap was 203.241 miles per hour.

Second fastest in NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying at Michigan International Speedway was the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick. Harvick was two-tenths of a second slower than Ambrose translating to an average speed just over 202 miles per hour. Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-5 for the Quicken Loans 400 line-up Sunday.  

Realizing that the fast times were also putting the reliability of the Goodyear tires at risk, NASCAR has allowed the tire supplier to provide a new set of left side tires for the weekend. A harder and predictably set to drop lap times for Sunday's event, the new Goodyear left-side tires are being supplied to Sprint Cup teams for the first time in a special 75-minute afternoon practice session after the NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup
Quicken Loans 400
Michigan International Speedway
Qualifying Results

Car # Driver Sponsor/ Car Maker
1 9 Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
2 29 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet
3 16 Greg Biffle 3M/Salute Ford
4 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
5 39 Ryan Newman US ARMY Chevrolet
6 17 Matt Kenseth Ford EcoBoost Ford
7 21 Trevor Bayne Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
8 14 Tony Stewart Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
9 20 Joey Logano The Home Depot Toyota
10 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
11 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Office Toyota
12 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet
13 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota
14 55 Mark Martin Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
15 43 Aric Almirola Medallion Ford
16 56 Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
17 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. DietMtnDew/TheDrkKnghtRises/NtnlGrd Chev
18 27 Paul Menard Menards/Duracell Chevrolet
19 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's Chevrolet
20 22 AJ Allmendinger Shell Pennzoil Dodge
21 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
22 33 Austin Dillon American Ethanol Chevrolet
23 23 Scott Riggs North TX Pipe Chevrolet
24 13 Casey Mears Valvoline NEXTGEN Ford
25 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge
26 51 Kurt Busch Phoenix Construction Services, Inc. Chevrolet
27 98 Michael McDowell Presbyterian Healthcare Ford
28 24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chevrolet
29 19 Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Racing, LLC Toyota
30 26 Josh Wise MDS Transport Ford
31 47 Bobby Labonte Charter Toyota
32 83 Landon Cassill Burger King Toyota
33 31 Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
34 18 Kyle Busch Snickers Toyota
35 38 David Gilliland Long John Silver's Ford
36 36 Dave Blaney Seal Wrap Chevrolet
37 87 Joe Nemechek AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota
38 34 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford
39 93 Travis Kvapil Burger King Toyota
40 32 Ken Schrader Federated Auto Parts Ford
41 10 Tony Raines Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
42 99 Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford
43 49 JJ Yeley America Israel Racing/JPO Absorbents Toyota

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