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NASCAR Cup: Brad Keselowski wins pole in home state

Brad Keselowski celebrates his pole for the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 11, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

Brad Keselowski celebrates his pole for the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 11, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

Michigan native Brad Keselowski won his first home-state Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole Friday, posting a 35.451-second/203.097 mph lap in the third of three rounds of qualifying at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.

“Paul Wolfe (crew chief) and my team, they kept dialing in on the car and kept working on it,” Keselowski said. “I’ve got goosebumps. It feels really good to run well here at Michigan. This is my home track. A lot of fans here. I have to put my glasses on so nobody can see me. Really cool. Really special.”

Teammate Joey Logano qualified second to start alongside Keselowski, making for an all-Penske front row. Kevin Harvick was third in the final round of qualifying to give Ford the top-three spots on the starting grid.

“It seems like Team Penske has brought some speed, even the 21 (Ryan Blaney), and really, most of the Fords look pretty good here,” Logano said. “That’s a good sign. I think we were really good in race trim, too. I feel good about it. Obviously, a good starting spot and a good pit stall is gonna be key, and hopefully we can just maintain that track position and we need to win, so this is a good start.”

Toyota driver Matt Kenseth qualified fourth and Chevrolet’s Chase Elliott rounded out the top-five.

Ryan Blaney, after being the fastest in Friday’s only practice session, led the first two rounds of qualifying. His 35.447-second/203.120 mph lap in round two was the fastest, overall, of the three-round qualifying session. Keselowski also posted a 203+ mph lap in the second round. In round three, Logano became only the third different driver to surpass the 203 mph mark.

Blaney, though, struggled in the final round and was the slowest of the round’s 12 drivers.

“About backing it into the fence into turn one (in round three),” Blaney said. “I just got loose over there. You lose time in one corner and you can’t make it up. I’m proud of the first two rounds. We didn’t tighten up for the last round. We have good speed in our car. Hopefully we should be able to drive up through everybody in the race.”
Meanwhile, points leader and wins leader Martin Truex Jr. failed to advance to the final round for only the second time at a non-restricted track this season. He just barely missed the cut, qualifying 13th in round two.

“We were real tight in turn one on that lap, there,” Truex said. “I just got in there a little too deep and never quite could get it to the bottom. We lost quite a bit of time, there, and definitely should have made the third round. Just thought we were going to be okay, and then, a couple guys went there at the end and knocked us out. We should have went again and we just didn’t. Ran out of time.”

Here’s a look at the complete starting grid for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway:

Row 1 — Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford), Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)

Row 2 — Kevin Harvick (No 4 Ford), Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota)

Row 3 — Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet), Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota)

Row 4 — Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet), Erik Jones (No. 77 Toyota)

Row 5 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)

Row 6 — Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Ford), Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford)

Row 7 — Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)

Row 8 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford), Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Chevrolet)

Row 9 — Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet), Danica Patrick (No. 10 Ford)

Row 10 — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet), Chris Buescher (No. 37 Chevrolet)

Row 11 — Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)

Row 12 — Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford)

Row 13 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet)

Row 14 — Matt DiBenedetto (No. 32 Ford), David Ragan (No. 38 Ford)

Row 15 — A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet), Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)

Row 16 — Cole Whitt (No. 72 Chevrolet), Landon Cassill (No. 34 Ford)

Row 17 — Ty Dillon (No. 13 Chevrolet), Corey LaJoie (No. 23 Toyota)

Row 18 — Brett Moffitt (No. 83 Toyota), Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 33 Chevrolet)

Row 19 — Derrike Cope (No. 15 Toyota), Reed Sorenson (No. 55 Chevrolet)

Row 20 — B.J. McLeod (No. 51 Chevrolet)

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (Facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (Facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on August 12, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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