BROOKLYN, Mich. — 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. Keselowski is winless in 16 career Cup races at Michigan. 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.
Other noteworthy developments at MIS:
EARNHARDT AND HARVICK
Harvick talked a bit more about his comments from earlier in the week about Dale Earnhardt Jr. Harvick suggested on SiriusXM that NASCAR’s growth has fallen short of its potential because Earnhardt — the most popular driver — hasn’t been successful enough. Earnhardt described some of the comments as “hurtful” on Thursday.
“It wasn’t anything personal. He had his opinion the week before on driver salaries and driver ages and those things, and I don’t know that anybody in the garage agreed with those either,” Harvick said. “There’s definitely opinions on a lot of things. There’s nothing personal, and I didn’t take anything that he said the week before personally either.”
Earnhardt said last weekend at Watkins Glen that there’s been “a major shift in how much drivers are getting paid.” He said newcomers are making a fifth to a 10th of what veterans had been getting.
Earnhardt said Friday he’d like to have a conversation with Harvick.
“I would certainly like to clear it up, but just probably between ourselves,” Earnhardt said.
Kasey Kahne, who is being replaced next year by Hendrick Motorsports in the No. 5 Chevrolet, said the vibe was good within the team Friday.
“It was the first time I had seen my guys since the news,” he said.
Kahne said he still wants to be in the Cup Series.
“I really think that I can come up with something good and come up with something that will be fun to be a part of and also try to work hard to make that team better than it’s ever been and myself better than I’ve been,” Kahne said. “I still have that mindset and I really hope that something works out to where I can be in a strong car next year and enjoy racing in this series.”