Ambrose speeds to pole in Michigan

Marcos Ambrose qualified at 203.241 m.p.h. as 19 drivers clocked in over 200 m.p.h. for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 race.
Marcos Ambrose qualified at 203.241 m.p.h. as 19 drivers clocked in over 200 m.p.h. for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 race. (NIGEL KINRADE / Associated Press/ Autostock)
Posted: June 17, 2012

BROOKLYN, Mich. - The last time anyone was this fast in qualifying in NASCAR's top series, Richard Petty was still driving.

He's an owner now, but when Marcos Ambrose won the Sprint Cup pole at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday for Richard Petty Motorsports, the Hall of Famer was on hand to put the accomplishment in perspective. Ambrose posted a speed of 203.241 m.p.h., the first time since 1987 the 200 m.p.h. mark was broken during Sprint Cup qualifying.

"I can't hardly remember that far back," Petty said. "To be able to do it on a flatter race track, not Daytona or Talladega, that is unheard of."

Ambrose made his first Sprint Cup pole a memorable one on a day 19 drivers surpassed 200 m.p.h. on the newly paved surface at MIS. Speeds have been soaring since drivers began testing sessions, and NASCAR decided to alter the left-side tires for the race Sunday, but that change didn't affect qualifying.

The last pole winner to break 200 m.p.h. in this series was Bill Elliott, a quarter-century ago at Talladega. Ambrose had the 11th-fastest pole-winning speed in series history.

"It's going to sound great at the bar when you have had about six too many," Ambrose cracked. "It is good bragging rights, I will give it that."

Ryan Newman's track qualifying record of 194.232 m.p.h. went by the wayside almost immediately. In fact, 40 drivers broke the mark, set in 2005.

Nationwide

BROOKLYN, Mich. - Joey Logano followed up his Sprint Cup victory at Pocono last weekend with a win on the Nationwide Series at Michigan International Speedway.

Logano held off James Buescher for his fifth Nationwide win of the year and 14th of his career. He has won four of the last five races in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Kurt Busch, back from a one-week suspension, finished third.

There was a red flag with seven laps to go after an accident involving Josh Richards and Jamie Dick. Flames shot briefly out of Dick's car, but both drivers were evaluated and released after the crash.

Buescher tried to pass Logano on the inside in the final seconds but wasn't able to.

IndyCar

WEST ALLIS, Wis. - Ryan Hunter-Reay found his way back to victory lane at the Milwaukee Mile, holding off Tony Kanaan.

It was the sixth career victory and first this season for Hunter-Reay, who brought home a victory for the man who brought the historic but financially troubled Milwaukee track back to IndyCar - car owner Michael Andretti, who served as the race promoter.

It wasn't the first triumph at Milwaukee for Hunter-Reay, who won the 2004 race at the track in the now-defunct Champ Car Series.

Kanaan was second, followed by James Hinchcliffe, Oriol Servia, and E.J. Viso.

The start of the race was delayed about an hour and a half because of rain.

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