[media-credit id=24 align=”alignright” width=”224″][/media-credit]Following a day of rain yesterday here at Watkins Glen International, the drivers of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) were given the opportunity to test their equipment early this morning in a 1.5 hour final practice session. With the sun still hidden behind the clouds and a cool breeze aiding the cause, the speeds were at a blistering pace around the 2.45-mile course this morning.
The 2008 winner, Kyle Busch, claimed the top of the leader board with Juan Montoya second, Carl Edwards third and road course specialist, Marcos Ambrose finishing the session fourth. Five-time Watkins Glen winner, Tony Stewart was shown thirteenth on the charts and four-time race winner Jeff Gordon was sixth.
During NSCS qualifying, it was a new track record for Juan Montoya at a speed of 127.020 mph that claimed his second Coors Light Pole award for the 27th Annual Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen. This is his ninth career pole award in 203 NSCS races and his second pole in as many weeks. Though he does have a win here at the 2.45-mile short course configuration, he has never started from the point position here in six attempts.
“Our Target Chevy has been pretty good this weekend. It has been pretty stable; put it in qualifying trim it was really quick in practice. We ran a little slower than practice, but with the sun out, it’s like 20 degrees hotter. I don’t know. I had a pretty good lap. You can always say I could have got a little more, but sometimes when you want a little more you actually lose.” Montoya said.
Happy Hour winner Kyle Busch, who will start the race on the outside of Montoya, just five-hundredths of a second behind the pole-sitter.
The 18 M&M’s Camry was really good during qualifying. It was really fast. I thought it was good and I thought it would be close to the pole. It was close, but it wasn’t first.” Busch said.
Five-time NSCS Champion, Jimmie Johnson will make the start from the third position and Brad Kesolowski qualified fourth.
“A really solid lap for the Miller Lite Dodge team. We haven’t qualified well this year but today was a great effort. Track position is key on road courses especially at a fast place like The Glen. I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get the pole.” Kesolowski said.
Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top-five starters.
“I made a mistake in turn six and just didn’t quite have enough rear grip there. That’s OK. We’ve got a great race car and we’ll just play the strategy game and see what comes out of it.” Ambrose said.
Green flag is slated for just after 1PM tomorrow, and with the grid set the way it is, the 27th Annual Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen is shaping up to have a short-track swagger about it.
As always, follow me on Twitter @ML_B_Lo for all the up to the minute action.
|Finger Lakes 355 at the Glen, Watkins Glen Int’l|
|9||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||126.049||69.973|
|16||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||125.5||70.279|
|17||22||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||125.42||70.324|