Marcos Ambrose on Fire for Zippo 200

2-Time Defending Champion Claims Pole

Ambrose Wins Pole

Marcos Ambrose will look to defend his Zippo 200 crown by starting from the pole for today's race.

Marcos Ambrose put his # 47 Kwik Fill/Red Apple/Zippo Toyota on the pole position for today’s Zippo 200 during Coors Light Qualifying. Running in the next to last qualifying group, Ambrose set a new track record for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the Watkins Glen International track. Marcos is the two-time defending champion of the Zippo 200 and will share the front row with Joey Logano (#20 GameStop Toyota).

While receiving his awards for securing the top position, Ambrose said: “We didn’t know what we had after practice. We just put our best on board. I’ve got two gold Zippos and I want a third. I didn’t have time to make a qualifying run in practice yesterday because of the time pressure from running in the Cup series. My crew is great. I’m proud of what I’ve got. It was a great team effort getting pole.”

Logano, who will start from the outside of the front row said: “I’m pumped up for the race coming up. There are a lot of things going on at this track. Qualifying for three laps here is tough, trying to hold your breath; I was huffin’ and puffin’ when I got out of the car.”

Running in the fifth qualifying group, former Formula One driver Nelson Piquet Jr. posted the fastest speed at the time of his qualifying run. His 120.698mph speed was nearly 2mph faster than the next speed, set by Brendan Gaughan (#62 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota). Piquet remarked about his first trip to Watkins Glen: “Yesterday I was completely lost. Kurt Busch gave me some pointers to help get me on the right track. I’m on a steep learning curve here.” Nelson would continue to hold the top spot after 28 cars had set a time. Billy Johnson (#6 CitiFinancial Ford) was the first driver to set a lap faster than Piquet when he turned a 120.754mph.

As Group 7 took to the track, two-time defending race winner Marcos Ambrose (#47 Kwik Fill/Red Apple/Zippo Toyota) and Joey Logano traded fastest laps as they leapfrogged past Johnson. Also part of the group was 1997 Formula One World Driving Champion Jacques Villeneuve. He put his #32 Dollar General Stores Toyota into the third position. Paul Menard (#98 CertainTeed/Menards Ford) slotted into the 4th position after group 7 posted their times.

After climbing from his car Ambrose said: “This track has been good to me. I think that lap might get beat. It’s a great team and a great car.”

The 8th and final qualifying group consisted of the fastest cars from the previous day’s practice sessions. Brad Keselowski (#22 Ruby Tuesday/Discount Tire Dodge), Kevin Harvick (#33 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet), Ron Fellows (#88 GT Vodka Chevrolet), Kyle Busch (#18 Combos Toyota), and Carl Edwards (#60 Fastenal Ford) did their best to wrestle the top spot away from Ambrose. Harvick would come the closest, setting an identical time to second fastest Logano. The tie-breaker for the position is owner points, which fell to Logano’s advantage.

After his qualifying session, Harvick said: “We’ve been really good right out of the box and have gotten faster and faster. We’ll be good for the race. I really enjoy road racing. I got deeper than ever into the ‘bus Stop” and got it a bit sideways so I know I’ve got a bit more in it.”
In the end, Villeneuve ended up 6th fastest, Johnson 9th and Piquet Jr. 10th.

The green flag will wave for the Zippo 200 at 2:00pm

© 2014 Watkins Glen International

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