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MENCS: Team Penske Sweeps Front Row at Michigan


Brad Keselowski zoomed to the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan International Speedway.

Keselowski piloted the Team Penske No. 2 Ford to a blazing-fast lap of 203.097 mph around the 2-mile track. His second pole of the season was his first in his home state and the 14th of his Monster Energy Series career.

Keselowski grew up in Rochester Hills, Mich., a Detroit suburb 99 miles from Michigan International Speedway. He is a big fan of Detroit and University of Michigan sports teams and long has said how badly he wants to win at MIS.

He has five top fives, but no wins at his home track. He has often said that a win here would be of similar importance to winning the biggest races in the sport. He joked that if he followed up today’s success with a win on Sunday that the victory celebration would be the type for which he has to ask for forgiveness.

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

His Team Penske teammate, Joey Logano, was second-fastest in the No. 22 Ford, posting a lap of 203.063 mph in the final, five-minute round of qualifying. He’ll start second in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) after missing the pole by just .006 seconds.

Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Chase Elliott rounded out the top five.

Kyle Larson, who will be vying for his third straight Michigan victory in Sunday’s 400-miler, was ninth-fastest in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet.

Ryan Blaney, who set the pace in the first two qualifying rounds and was fastest in opening practice, bobbled during his final qualifying run. He’ll start 12th in the Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford.

Series points leader Martin Truex Jr., who notched his series-leading fourth win of the year last weekend at Watkins Glen, was bumped from the final round of qualifying, missing the top 12 for just the second time in the last 13 races. He turned the 13th-fastest lap in the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota, missing the final cut by just .046 seconds.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., prepping for what’s likely his final Michigan International Speedway start, was 19th-fastest in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevy.

Two more practice sessions are scheduled Saturday in preparation for Sunday’s race. Just four regular-season events remain before the 16-driver playoff field is set.


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About Jacob Mullins

Jacob Mullins serves as the managing editor and senior NASCAR writer covering all three national touring series's. You can find him on on Twitter at @JMulls15. An intercollegiate athletic administrator by trade, Mullins can be found at the big tracks as well as the local short tracks in the Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. Mullins enjoys social media, photography and graphic design. A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Mullins follows all forms of racing, Major League Baseball (Baltimore Orioles) and college football (Virginia Tech Hokies).

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