Roush Yates Fords were record-breaking fast all weekend, winning pole positions and setting qualifying records in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and ARCA Series.
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the No. 9 Stanley Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, shattered the Sprint Cup track record on Saturday to win the pole for the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on Sunday. Ambrose turned a fast lap of 128.241 mph, one full mph faster than the 127.020 mark set a year ago by Juan Pablo Montoya. He was a part of the final group in qualifying and the only driver to break the 128 mph barrier.
“The old car just didn’t have a lot of downforce. With this car, you can actually get off the gas pedal and you can feel the air trying to slow the car down just a little bit, and that helps the brakes because brakes are marginal around this track,” said Ambrose, a two-time winner at Watkins Glen. “It’s got more downforce, it’s lighter, and those two factors really help. I think all-around this is a great track for these Gen-6 cars, and we’ve proved that by going under the lap record time.”
Sam Hornish Jr. claimed the first starting position by qualifying the fastest for the Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on Saturday. It was the second straight pole at The Glen for Hornish with a record-setting lap of 123.291 mph. The previous pole record of 123.241 mph was set by Kurt Busch in 2011.
Mason Mitchell, driver of the No. 82 Happy Cheeks Ford for Empire Racing-Mason Mitchell Motorsports, won his first career pole at Berlin Raceway on Saturday in the ARCA Series. Mitchell set a track record with a qualifying lap of 93.963 mph at the .4375-mile track.
“It is pretty cool to have your name in the record books with the track record,” said Mitchell. “A pole is good by itself, but a new track record is pretty special.”
Roush Yates Engines and Ford Racing won their ninth Nationwide Series race of the 2013 season with the help of Brad Keselowski and Penske Racing. Keselowski held off teammate Sam Hornish Jr. to win the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen on Saturday in a dominant performance that involved all three Penske Racing cars leading all but 9 laps of the 200 mile race.
Starting fifth, Keselowski led 46 laps in his No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang. He took the lead from teammate Joey Logano with 16 laps to go and held off Sam Hornish Jr. to win by 1.418 seconds. Saturday’s victory marked the fourth win in the last four Nationwide starts for Keselowski.
“All three Penske cars were very, very fast,” said Keselowski. “Everybody has done a great job with these Nationwide cars and it’s a pleasure to drive when you’ve got cars this good.”
Hornish, who started from the pole, closed the gap to Nationwide Championship points leader Austin Dillon from 14 to three points as they head to Mid-Ohio next week.
“It was a really great day for the Penske organization – a 1-2 finish,” said Hornish. “We’ve done quite a bit lately and one of these times we’ll get turned around where I’m leading the end of it.”
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