NASCAR: Marcos Ambrose takes Sprint Cup pole at over 203 mph

By Noah Trister

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, June 16 2012 10:56 p.m. MDT

Driver Martin Truex Jr., waits in the pit area before qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 auto race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Saturday, June 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Associated Press

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 mph, the first time since 1987 the 200 mph 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 mph 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. The cars slowed down significantly at a practice session after the switch, but the change didn't affect qualifying.

LOGANO RACES TO 5TH NATIONWIDE WIN OF YEAR

BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) — Joey Logano followed up his Sprint Cup victory at Pocono last weekend with a win on the Nationwide Series on Saturday 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.

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