Australian Marcos Ambrose took his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pole award at Kentucky Speedway today with a quick 176.992-mph (30.552 seconds) lap and will lead a 36-truck field to the green flag for the "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" at 8:15 p.m.

The rookie driver also will lead a group of five Ford drivers in the top six positions on the starting grid after posting the second-quickest NCTS qualifying time in Kentucky Speedway history in his No. 20 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Ford. Bill Davis Racing driver Bill Lester set the series track qualifying record last season with a 178.441-mph (30.313 seconds) circuit.

Ambrose will make his 10th career series start tonight. He collected his first top-five series finish last week at Kansas Speedway with a third-place performance.

"This is really unexpected. This is my rookie year in America and my first races ever on ovals," said Ambrose, who saluted his country by purposely holding his pole award upside down. "I came here for my test with the Wood brothers very late in 2005. That's what gave me the run and the ride here. This was the only track I got some laps on. I guess that's what helped me."

David Reutimann (No. 17 Toyota Tundra Toyota) will share the front row. He qualified for the spot with a 175.592-mph (30.579 seconds) lap. Happy Hour practice leader Kerry Earnhardt (No. 13 National Pork Board Chevrolet) will start third after turning his best qualifying lap at 176.142 mph (30.657 seconds) and will share the second row with Roush Racing driver Michel Jourdain, Jr., who turned in a 176.056-mph (30.672 seconds) qualifying run.

"The truck got too tight on the second lap, the first lap was okay," Reutimann said. "I was surprised it held up as long as it did. I think we have a good truck for the race and we will see if we can't have the lead when we cross the start/finish line on lap one."

The all-Ford third row will consist of Roush Racing teammates David Ragan, who qualified his No. 6 Scotts Ford fifth with a 176.615-mph (30.749 seconds) lap and Erik Darnell, who took the sixth spot on the grid with a 175.365-mph (30.793 seconds) lap in his No. 99 Roush Racing Ford.

Series leader Todd Bodine, a 2002 NASCAR Busch Series race winner in Kentucky, will start ninth.

Roush Racing has registered NCTS wins with Carl Edwards in 2003 and Greg Biffle in the series inaugural event at the track in 2000.

The Charlie Daniels Band prerace concert begins tonight at 6:00 p.m., on the Turn 1 Concourse music stage and 36 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers will take to the 1.5-mile tri-oval at 8:15 p.m., for the "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers."

Tickets for the race are still available at speedway ticket booths.

Story by Mike Schmaltz

~ Kentucky Speedway ~