Australian Marcos Ambrose claimed his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole position with a new track record at Michigan International Speedway.
The Richard Petty Motorsports driver set a lap at a 203.241mph average, the quickest in the 43-year history of the newly repaved track, as he became only the fourth driver ever to claim a NASCAR pole with an average above 200 mph.
The former V8 Supercar champion was one of a few who were able to back up their speeds from practice, having run a similar lap during the afternoon session on Friday where he had been second fastest.
"I left a little bit out there," said Ambrose. "I got greedy into Turn 3. The team at Richard Petty Motorsports did an outstanding job for us. This is a really great hot rod and I am proud to represent them.
"We get to start in the front and that is all you can ask for. We are going to try the tire change tonight and see how our car adapts to that."
Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick ended up second fastest after aborting his initial warm-up lap, stopping on the track and going backward before getting on a second one, which apparently seemed to do the trick, as he then set the benchmark before Ambrose's filer.
Roush Fenway's Greg Biffle, fastest in practice with a lap at well over 204mph, was unable to mirror than in qualifying, going just over 201mph to finish third fastest ahead of Hendrick Motorsports' Kasey Kahne and Stewart-Haas' Ryan Newman.
"I got out of the car and feel this strong wind and that could have had a little to do with the lap time," said Biffle. "I got about all I could get I think out of the car. I thought there would be more grip in [Turns] 1 and 2 so I backed it down a little bit in 3 and 4 and it might have cost me."
Points leader Matt Kenseth was sixth quickest ahead of Wood Brothers' Trevor Bayne, the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers, making it four Ford Fusions among the top seven in qualifying.
Carl Edwards seemed to be attempting the same as Harvick after stopping on the track before getting the green flag, but he eventually aborted his run and returned to the pits without setting a time after struggling to get up to speed.
David Stremme ran under the previous track record but still failed to make the field while Stacy Compton was also left out of Sunday's race.
Teams will get a further practice session on Saturday evening to try out the new left-side tire specification that will be used during the race, following blistering issues with the original selection during testing and practice.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 35.426s
2. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 35.637s + 0.211s
3. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 35.676s + 0.250s
4. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 35.693s + 0.267s
5. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 35.737s + 0.311s
6. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 35.739s + 0.313s
7. Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Ford 35.742s + 0.316s
8. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 35.755s + 0.329s
9. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 35.777s + 0.351s
10. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 35.789s + 0.363s
11. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota 35.842s + 0.416s
12. Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet 35.870s + 0.444s
13. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 35.877s + 0.451s
14. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota 35.894s + 0.468s
15. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 35.93 s + 0.504s
16. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 35.931s + 0.505s
17. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 35.943s + 0.517s
18. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 35.976s + 0.550s
19. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 35.980s + 0.554s
20. AJ Allmendinger Penske Dodge 36.010s + 0.584s
21. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 36.070s + 0.644s
22. Austin Dillon Circle Sport Chevrolet 36.083s + 0.657s
23. Scott Riggs R3 Chevrolet 36.095s + 0.669s
24. Casey Mears Germain Ford 36.262s + 0.836s
25. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 36.277s + 0.851s
26. Kurt Busch Phoenix Chevrolet 36.320s + 0.894s
27. Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 36.342s + 0.916s
28. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 36.378s + 0.952s
29. Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 36.404s + 0.978s
30. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 36.419s + 0.993s
31. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 36.475s + 1.049s
32. Landon Cassill BK Toyota 36.532s + 1.106s
33. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 36.538s + 1.112s
34. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 36.543s + 1.117s
35. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 36.580s + 1.154s
36. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 36.582s + 1.156s
37. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 36.591s + 1.165s
38. David Ragan Front Row Ford 36.609s + 1.183s
39. JJ Yeley Robinson-Blakeney Toyota 36.901s + 1.475s
40. David Stremme Inception Toyota 37.057s + 1.631s
41. Stacy Compton Turn One Chevrolet 37.189s + 1.763s
42. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 37.285s + 1.859s
43. Ken Schrader FAS Lane Ford 37.768s + 2.342s
44. Tony Raines Baldwin Chevrolet 38.254s + 2.828s
45. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford