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Home-Stater Keselowski Wins Michigan Pole

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, August 12 2017

Brad Keselowski will start Sunday’s Cup race from the pole. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Garry Eller)

RacinToday.com

Team Penske dominated NASCAR Cup qualifying Friday as its two drivers were fastest and second fastest at the Michigan International Speedway oval that sits just down the road from their tam owner’s home base.

Brad Keselowski will start on the pole for Sunday’s 400-miler (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN), and teammate Joey Logano will start next to him on the front row.

Michigan is not just Roger Penske’s home track, but also Keselowski’s as he grew up in Rochester Hills, Mich., a Detroit suburb 99 miles from MIS.

Keselowski has five top fives, but no wins at his home track.

“When I saw that we were going to win the pole, those last few seconds of qualifying, it sent chills down my body. It’s a special track for me to have any kind of success at,” he said.

Clouds moving in and out affected the speeds dramatically—the more clouds, the faster the cars go. Because of changes in the cloud cover, and the fact his team had made last-second changes to the car, Keselowski was skeptical when he pulled onto the track for his final lap. But the changes made his car faster, and his time of 35.451 (203.097 mph) stood up as the best of the final 12. It is the 14th Coors Light pole of his career, his second of 2017 and his first in 17 tries at Michigan.

“A driver’s home track, where his family and friends are all present, it just feels like a bigger event. Michigan, for me, feels like a bigger event,” Keselowski said. “You want to make those people proud when you have the opportunity. When you have the smallest sliver of success, it feels magnified. It feels bigger. That’s what today is for me.”

Keselowski’s pole was the seventh won in the Cup Series for team owner Roger Penske at MIS, a track Penske owned from 1972 until 1999 when it was purchased by International Speedway Corporation.

Keselowski is locked into the playoffs, but Logano isn’t. He is 18th in points and an insurmountable 95 points out of the 16th and final playoff spot. With just four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races left in the regular season, he needs to win one of those.

“I think you do get a little bit desperate,” Logano said following qualifying on Friday at Michigan. “You’ve got to win. There is no second option, so the intensity is very, very high. You have to be on-point all the time. Every change has to be a good one. Every lap has to be a good one.”

Earlier this season, Logano finished third and Keselowski finished 16th at Michigan.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying – Pure Michigan 400

Michigan International Speedway

Brooklyn, Michigan

Friday, August 11, 2017

  1. (2)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 203.097 mph.
  2. (22)  Joey Logano, Ford, 203.063 mph.
  3. (4)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 202.788 mph.
  4. (20)  Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 202.577 mph.
  5. (24)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 202.429 mph.
  6. (18)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 201.998 mph.
  7. (1)  Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 201.884 mph.
  8. (77)  Erik Jones #, Toyota, 201.805 mph.
  9. (42)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 201.765 mph.
  10. (11)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 201.698 mph.
  11. (14)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 201.602 mph.
  12. (21)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 201.235 mph.
  13. (78)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 201.263 mph.
  14. (17)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 200.842 mph.
  15. (41)  Kurt Busch, Ford, 200.607 mph.
  16. (19)  Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 200.468 mph.
  17. (3)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 200.306 mph.
  18. (10)  Danica Patrick, Ford, 200.256 mph.
  19. (88)  Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 200.178 mph.
  20. (37)  Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 199.551 mph.
  21. (6)  Trevor Bayne, Ford, 199.363 mph.
  22. (48)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 199.325 mph.
  23. (5)  Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 199.302 mph.
  24. (43)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 198.659 mph.
  25. (31)  Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 197.759 mph.
  26. (95)  Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 197.596 mph.
  27. (32)  Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 197.450 mph.
  28. (38)  David Ragan, Ford, 196.990 mph.
  29. (47)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 196.630 mph.
  30. (27)  Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 195.860 mph.
  31. (72)  Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 195.164 mph.
  32. (34)  Landon Cassill, Ford, 195.117 mph.
  33. (13)  Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 194.779 mph.
  34. (23)  Corey LaJoie #, Toyota, 194.516 mph.
  35. (83)  Brett Moffitt(i), Toyota, 194.227 mph.
  36. (33)  Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 190.426 mph.
  37. (15)  Derrike Cope, Toyota, 188.132 mph.
  38. (55)  Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 187.169 mph.
  39. (51)  BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, 185.998 mph.
| , RacinToday.com Saturday, August 12 2017
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