BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) -- Marcos Ambrose has won the Sprint Cup pole at Michigan International Speedway with a speed of 203.241 mph Saturday -- the first time in a quarter-century the 200 mph mark was broken during qualifying on NASCAR's top circuit.
Nineteen drivers surpassed 200 mph Saturday on the newly paved surface at MIS, and 40 broke the previous track record of 194.232, set by Ryan Newman in 2005. Speeds have been soaring since Thursday's test sessions, and NASCAR decided to alter the left-side tires for Sunday's race, but that didn't affect qualifying.
The last pole winner to break 200 mph in this series was Bill Elliott in 1987 at Talladega. This is Ambrose's first Sprint Cup pole, and he posted the 11th-fastest pole-winning speed in series history.