Logano Claims Michigan Pole

J.Logano

Joey Logano has put his Penske Racing Ford on the pole for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)

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BROOKLYN, Mich. - Joey Logano won the pole for the Pure Michigan 400 with a track-record lap of 203.949 mph Friday at Michigan International Speedway.

Logano’s lap broke the previous record of 203.241 set by Marcos Ambrose in June 2012.  The top three qualifiers topped the previous track record.  Kurt Busch qualified second at 203.695 mph.  Points leader Jimmie Johnson was third at 203.470 mph.

Mark Martin (203.218 mph) starts fourth with Jeff Burton (203.114) completing the top five.  Greg Biffle, who is seeking to win his third consecutive race at Michigan International Speedway, will start 16th after a lap of 201.590 mph.

The top 25 cars each had a qualifying lap better than 200 mph.  Austin Dillon, driving in place of the injured Tony Stewart, qualified 27th with a lap of 199.983 mph.

The pole is the sixth of Logano’s career and first of the season, qualifying him for next year’s Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.  He also is battling for a Wild Card spot.  He enters this weekend 16th in the points but will need at least one victory to have a chance to make the Chase.

"These next four races are super, super important for us," Logano said.  "We can’t afford to have a bad one.  If we can get a win, that’s huge.  I feel like our next couple of weeks are our best shot at it."

He’s scored three consecutive top-10 finishes.

"The momentum is behind us," Logano said.  "We’re definitely a Chase-caliber team.  I feel like we’re a championship-caliber team."

Busch said he thought he lost a chance at the pole with his entry into Turn 3 when he was "just a little conservative."  Busch estimated his top corner entry speed was 212 mph during his qualifying lap.  This marks the fifth time this season that Busch has started second.

"It’s really cool to be in position on Fridays and have that shot at going for the pole because it’s not every week you’re showing up with a shot at sitting on the pole," said Busch, who is 11th in the points.  "Everybody is pumped up and pushing hard, and we’ve got four races to go to lock ourselves into this Chase."

Busch also said a key was the weather.  Conditions were overcast when Logano and Busch qualified.  The sun was out for part of qualifying and that was enough to make a difference.

"Clouds did come back in," Busch said.  "That track temperature change.  Today, it was bouncing around between 112 (degrees) and 107.  That five degrees is almost like a tenth (of a second) per degree.  It’s pretty wild.  It’s just because of the speed at this track.  A little bit can go a long way."

Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" - will have live coverage of Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 starting at 12 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MotorRacingNetwork.com.

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