Ke­selowski earns first Michi­gan pole

Logano also on the front row as Penske team qualifies 1-2.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

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.

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