Keselowski earns first Michigan pole
Logano also on the front row as Penske team qualifies 1-2.
For Brad Keselowski, any victory at his home state’s track is special.
Even if it’s only in qualifying.
Keselowski won the pole Friday for this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race, putting himself in good position to try for an elusive victory at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Keselowski is winless in 16 career Cup races at Michigan, but he does have eight top-10 finishes.
“I’m not really known as a great qualifier, so maybe over time I’ve probably put a little less stock in qualifying,” Keselowski said. “But I can tell you that when I saw that we were going to win the pole those last few seconds of qualifying, it put chills down my body. It’s a great feeling. It’s a special track for me to have any kind of success at.”
Keselowski’s pole was his 14th on the Cup Series and first at Michigan. It was his second this year.
Joey Logano was second, giving Team Penske a 1-2 showing in qualifying for Sunday’s race. Kevin Harvick — another Ford driver — was third.
Keselowski took the pole with a lap of 35.451 seconds (203.097 mph) in his No. 2 Ford. Logano was close behind at 35.457.
“Missed it by seven thousandths,” Logano said. “So close. But we’ve got to be proud of the effort that we put in as a team.”
Keselowski, who is from Rochester Hills, won at Michigan on the Nationwide Series but has never done so at the Cup level.
“Any success you have at your home track is right there with having success in the biggest races of the year,” Keselowski said.
Busy weekend for Larson: Kyle Larson is ready for a hectic weekend befitting his status as one of racing’s rising stars.
Larson is set to race in today’s Knoxville Nationals, squeezing in the prestigious sprint car event before returning to Michigan to compete in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race. Chip Ganassi, Larson’s team owner on the Cup circuit, gave him permission to race in Knoxville, Iowa. He qualified ninth in his Cup car Friday at Michigan.
“Chip’s allowing me to go to Knoxville, which is great,” Larson said. “Cool weekend for me and really excited for it.”
The 25-year-old Larson has two Cup victories this year — including in June at Michigan — and is third in the standings. He also won at Michigan International Speedway last August.
If Larson wins a third straight Cup race at Michigan, he’ll be the first driver to do that since Bill Elliott, who won four in a row from 1985-86. Larson, who has seven runner-up finishes this year to go along with his two victories, has been in a bit of a rut lately, finishing out of the top 20 in his past three races.