Joey Logano leads Ford dominance of FireKeepers Casino 400 qualifying at Michigan International Speedway
Joey Logano claimed his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole of 2019 and his fourth series pole at Michigan International Speedway with a 38.474-second/187.139 mph lap during qualifying Saturday for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400.
“The car went where I told it to go; that was good,” Logano said. We will see. The car has speed in it; that is a good thing. Hopefully, it drives good in the draft. It was pretty good in practice yesterday, so I think we will be alright. Getting the pole is really cool.”
Aric Almirola was the only driver other than Logano to make a lap with an average speed over 187 mph in Saturday’s qualifying session to claim the other front-row starting spot.
“Close but no cigar,” Almirola said. "What is that old saying, ‘Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades?' That is the sixth front row for our team this year, the 10 team, and only one pole. That is frustrating to get that close to getting a pole that often and only have one pole. We seem to always get beat just by a little bit by somebody different every time. That is part of it. I feel like our car is really fast. We have a really fast Smithfield Ford Mustang. All the Fords are really fast. I think eight of the 10 are Ford. This is definitely Ford country, and we are excited to go try and get a Ford to victory lane. Edesl told us the other night that there have been like 99 Cup races here, and between Ford and Mercury, we have 49 of them. We are trying to add one more and get 50.”
Ford dominated the session, claiming the top-three positions on the starting grid and eight of the top-10 starting positions. Almirola’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer qualified third and fifth respectively.
Toyota driver Denny Hamlin was the only non-Ford driver inside the top-five, qualifying fourth.
“The organization [Joe Gibbs Racing] is really running well, and it seems like one of our cars is hitting it every week, even though we may not show it in practice,” Hamlin said. “Hopefully, we’re the ones that got it right this week. We’re going to have a good qualifying spot so we’re optimistic that we’ll have a good day on Sunday.”
Seventh-place Kurt Busch was the only Chevrolet representative inside the top-10.
“I was happy we backed up our lap from yesterday [in practice] over to today,” Busch said. “We’ve been a little off on qualifying, and it was nice to build that consistency of the qualifying setups. This was very similar to our Kansas run, and we were able to polish up on that. That was about all we were going to get. I’m happy we were top-10 with our Chevy, because we still have to leave enough in it for our race trim balance with the impound procedure. There are times where you want to be the pole, and there are times where you just want to have that nice, consistent run. I’m happy with where we are.”
Busch was the provisional pole sitter for a brief moment, going out 13th of the 36 entrants for the Michigan race. He landed atop the scoring pylon, but was knocked off when Logano went out 20th.