Joey Logano takes the Alliance Truck Parts 250
Marcos Ambrose on pole for Quicken Loans 400
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The weather was hot and the speeds were fast, but nothing was surprising about Joey Logano. He won the NASCAR Nationwide Series Alliance Truck Parts 250 on Saturday afternoon.
Earlier on Saturday, Marcos Ambrose captured his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup pole.
Austin Dillion started on the pole for the Nationwide Series Alliance Truck Parts 250 with a speed of 190.375 MPH. That mark broke the previous record of 186.548 MPH set in 2007 by Greg Biffle.
The pole was the first in the Nationwide Series for Dillion in 24 starts. In 2012, he has produced 12 top-10 starts.
Rookie Cole Whitt started on the outside of row one while Logano and James Buescher were on the second row. After working to the front, Joey Logano was able to distance himself from the competition and use the clean air to his advantage. He led 31 laps, the second-most in the race. Only Paul Menard, who paced the field for 37 laps, led more laps.
In a race that only saw seven cautions for 26 laps, two of those yellow flags occurred in the final 11 laps of the race. Danica Patrick and Brad Sweet got together to bring out a yellow flag. On the restart, Kurt Busch tried a move to the inside, but Logano held him to keep the lead.
After a red flag for a two-car accident on lap 119, Logano once again had to fend off the competition. This time Buescher and Dillon tried to team up on the leader.
Buescher was attempting to make it a family affair after his cousin, Chris Buescher, won the ARCA Racing Series RainEater Wiper Blades 200 on Friday. Buescher tried a pass to the inside on the last lap, but Logano fended him off and held on for the victory.
“As a driver right now I have a lot of confidence in my abilities and I feel like I’ve got what it takes to win all these races and it’s working for me,” Logano said. “We’ve just capitalized on every opportunity we’ve had right now.”
In just 99 career Nationwide starts, this marked the 14th victory for Logano. It was his fifth victory already for 2012 and his eighth top-10 finish of the season.
Busch finished third, followed by Whitt and Dillon.
The Australian, in his fourth full season on the Sprint Cup circuit, posted a top record speed of 203.241 MPH to gain the inside of the front row for the start of Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400. The race is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. It was Ambrose’s first pole in 134 Cup races.
It marked the first time in 25 years that a driver has won a Sprint Cup pole with a speed of over 200 MPH. Ambrose, driving for Richard Petty Motorsports, became only the fourth driver to garner a Sprint Cup pole with a lap of over 200 MPH. The last to do it was Bill Elliott in 1987 at Daytona and Talladega.
Ambrose’s speed is the fastest ever at a non-restrictor plate track. It was also the 11th fastest pole-winning speed in NASCAR Sprint Cup history. The only other drivers to surpass 200 in qualifying were Benny Parsons and Cale Yarborough.
In fact, 39 drivers posted a faster lap than the previous track qualifying record of record of 194.232 mph. It was set by Ryan Newman in 2005. In the qualifying session, 19 drivers posted speed of over 200 MPH on the newly repaved two-mile track.
“It is a good bragging right, I'll give it that," Ambrose said. "I'm just really excited to get the speed, and to claim to be the fastest guy out there is just awesome. We've missed some poles -- this is my first pole in Sprint Cup. We've missed some by thousandths of a second and conditions changing, so it's good that we actually got one to stick, and one that's got so many records attached to it.
"It felt that fast to me, too,” Ambrose continued. “It felt like I was getting it done. It was really fun times out there. When you get onto the frontstretch, and you gain about 100 RPM in a mile, you know that you got everything you could out of the corner. We were wide open for about 98 percent of the lap, and I felt very good about how we got the car dialed in to do that.”
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