DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Australian Marcos Ambrose’s record-setting qualifying lap of 203.241 mph (35.426 seconds) on Saturday at the newly repaved Michigan International Speedway made him 20th driver to earn a starting spot in next year’s Daytona Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.

Driving the No. 9 Stanley Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, Ambrose’s qualifying lap was the fastest run in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since Bill Elliott posted 203.827 mph at Talladega in 1987, the last year the series ran at Daytona and Talladega without restrictor plates.

“I am really excited to get the speed and to claim to be the fastest guy out there,” Ambrose said. “It’s just awesome. We have missed some poles. This is my first pole in Sprint Cup and we have missed some by thousandths of a second and conditions changing. It is good that we actually got one to stick and one that has so many records attached to it.”

This will be Ambrose’s second start in the fan-favorite, star-studded event that will kick off Budweiser Speedweeks 2013. He finished third in 2012.

Eligibility requirements for next season’s Daytona Shootout return to its roots with the field consisting of pole winners and past Shootout winners who have attempted to qualify for at least one race during the 2012 season.

2012 Pole Winners:
Greg Biffle
Carl Edwards
Denny Hamlin
Kasey Kahne
Mark Martin
Jeff Gordon
Martin Truex Jr.
AJ Allmendinger
Aric Almirola
Joey Logano
Marcos Ambrose

Past Shootout champions:
Kyle Busch
Kurt Busch
Kevin Harvick
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Tony Stewart
Jimmie Johnson
Bill Elliott
Terry Labonte
Ken Schrader

The stars of NASCAR return to Daytona International Speedway on July 6-7. Tickets to the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, featuring a special hour-long pre-race concert by multiplatinum, Grammy-winning superstars Train, and the Subway Jalapeno 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or online at

Also, don’t forget to take advantage of our special kids’ pricing. Kids 12 and under receive free general admission tickets to the Subway Jalapeno 250, free admission to the Sprint FANZONE all weekend long, and a $10 ticket for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola while supplies last.

Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter ( and Facebook ( for all the latest news all season long.