Kurt Busch says he wanted the Michigan International Speedway pole ‘bad’ and when the No. 41 team went after it, they got it.
Busch laid down a lap of 203.361mph in the final round of qualifying to best Ford teammate Brad Keselowski. The best lap for Keselowski was 203.166mph.
The pole is Busch’s second of the season, third at Michigan and 24th of his career.
“This one is fun because I could trust the car and I knew I needed to go after it hard,” said Busch. “Watching all the Fords in practice I knew we had a good shot at it. The guys tweaked on the tires the right amount. It’s a new compound, left and right side, and we didn’t want to get caught up too much in chasing the tires. We went with status quo.
“I think it’s because of the speed that I like here and Texas and the balance we had in our car in qualifying. Now we need to translate that to race speed. I enjoy qualifying here. It’s a pleasure to have one of these Fords and have Yates power under the hood. To go 217mph, to haul the mail going into the corner I love that feeling.”
Also breaking the 203 mile-per-hour mark was Kyle Busch. Busch will start third on the strength of a 203.120mph lap. The Fords of Kevin Harvick (202.954mph) and Joey Logano (202.168mph) completed the top five.
Like last weekend, Harvick was the fastest driver in both the first and second rounds of qualifying.
Rounding out the top 10 were Aric Almirola (201.607mph), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (201.263mph), Erik Jones (201.140mph), Ryan Blaney (200.792 mph) and Denny Hamlin (200.401 mph).
Kyle Larson will begin his quest for a record-tying fourth straight Michigan win from the 26th position. In his previous three wins, Larson started no worse than 12th.
“Our car has just been pretty far off, I feel like, all day,” said Larson. “It’s really tight. I don’t feel like I can turn the wheel very far either. I don’t know why that is. But we’ve got some smart people in our trailer and on our race team that will get it worked out. We’ll get some laps tomorrow and hopefully be better.”
NEXT UP: Second practice at 9 a.m. ET Saturday.