Michigan International Speedway: Friday at the Track

Friday is Media Interviews, Practice, and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Qualifying. Live coverage from the Irish Hills by The Lasco Press

0
202
Friday, June 8th, Brooklyn Michigan

Martin Truex Jr.

Lasco Press Photo

Media interviews at Michigan International Speedway began Friday morning with defending Cup Series Champion Martin Truex Jr. in the Media Room. Truex has not won at Michigan but said he likes the track. “We have run well here. Hopefully, we can get it done this weekend with a win here.” Truex commented about the tire test he participated in here in the spring. Extra track time is always a benefit. But, Truex said he did not run on the compound that Goodyear selected for the race.

Kyle Larson

Lasco Press Photo

Kyle Larson has won the last three Cup races here at Michigan International Speedway. However, the Chevrolet teams have not fared well on the Cup circuit this year. The new Camaro has proved hard to find the set-up on. Larson said, “He did not feel the Chevrolets were at a disadvantage.” Even going on to say he felt, “Some teams were using it as an excuse for underperforming.”

Given his recent success at the track, Larson was asked if he should be considered one of the favorites for Sunday’s race? “I still fell Harvick, Kyle and Truex are the favorites, but we can be added to the group. Based on how well we have run here. If he makes it four-in-a-row, Larson will tie Bill Elliott’s record for most consecutive wins at the track.

Erik Jones

Lasco Press Photo

“That Jones Boy,” as iconic NASCAR announcer Ken Squire is fond of calling him, is from nearby Byron, Michigan. Jones has dominated at every level of racing in a career that has seen him rocket from local short tracks to the Cup Circuit. The 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion. He is the first driver to win Rookie of the Year Honors in all three of NASCAR’s premier divisions.

Still, Jones is still looking for his first Cup Series win. But he does not appear concerned that the event is yet to occur. Claire B. Lange from NASCAR XM Satellite Radio called it a “quiet confidence.” Erik admits to some frustration but insists they have to work on doing all the right things. “qualify well, stay up front, and be in a position to capture the win.” It will come.” Wouldn’t it be fun if it came at Michigan?

Brad Keselowski

Lasco Press Photo

Another driver who considers Michigan to be his home track. Brad Keselowski has never won a Cup race at MIS. A popular driver to have in the media room, Brad always gives great interviews. He spent a bit of time talking about tires and Goodyear’s decision to bring the tire they did to the track this weekend. He too participated in the spring tire test and felt a different compound would have benefited the competition in this race.

Keselowski also discussed his dislike of restrictor plate competition packages and would not be an advocate of it being used at MIS. According to Brad, “The competition package takes away from the driver’s ability to determine the outcome of his race.”

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Practice

Ryan Blaney posted the fastest time in opening practice with a speed of 206.617. One of nine drivers to exceed the 200 mph mark. Eight of the fastest cars belonged to Blue Oval drivers. Three-peat winner Kyle Larson managed only the 16th fastest speed, a full 3.5 mph slower than Blaney.

Driver’s drove a combination of race trim and qualifying trim setups. So it will be interesting to see how qualify shakes out and if tomottows practice speeds tell a different story.

Qualifying

The biggest news from Round 1 of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying? Kyle Larson(42), winner of the last three Cup races at MIS did not make it past the first round. He will start 26th on Sunday, his speed 198.999.

Kevin Harvick(4) posted the fastest time in Round 1, at 202.800. Eight Fords placed in the top 10 positions as 24 cars moved to the next round.

Lasco Press Photo

Other notables not advancing. A.J. Allmendinger(47) 25th, Bubba Wallace(43) 28th, and Kasey Kahne(95) 29th.

Round 2

Again Harvick topped the speed chart for Round 2. Upping the ante from his first speed run to 203.092. Kyle Busch(18) jumped from 23rd fastest in Round 1 into 2nd place with a 2nd Round time a half a second faster. Busch’s speed, 202.049.

Lasco Press Photo
Lasco Press Photo

Eight Fords among the top 12 will race for the pole position. Big names eliminated in Round 2. Chase Elliott(9) will start 13th, William Byron(24) 14th, Paul Menard(21) 15th, Martin Truex Jr(78) 17th. Seven-Time Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson(48) lines up 20th, Alex Bowman(88) 21st, and Daniel Suarez(19) 22nd.

Lasco Press Photo

Pole Qualifying

Surprise, Kurt Busch(41) grabs the pole with a speed of 203.361. Brad Keselowski(2), who has never won a Cup race at his home track, will start on the front row beside Busch.

Kurt’s Brother Kyle starts 3rd, Harvick could manage only the 4th fastest speed when it mattered most. The Fords of Joey Logano(22), Aric Almirola(10), and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(17) start 5th, 6th, and 7th. Giving Ford Performance 6 of the top 7 qualifying positions.

Lasco Press Photo

Byron, Michigan native Erik Jones(20) qualified 8th. Jones, last year’s Rookie of the Year, is still looking for his 1st win in the Cup series. Ryan Blaney(12), Denny Hamlin(11), Ryan Newman(31), and Clint Bowyer(14) complete the top 12 qualifiers.

Lasco Press Photo

 

The conclusion of the day’s activities saw the ARCA Drivers compete in the Zomongo 200. Sheldon Creed drove to the win in a race that concluded at 7:18 pm. Almost had to erect lights in Victory Lane for the victory celebration.

 

 

SHARE
Previous articleHere We Grow Again Fenton
Next articleMichigan International Speedway: Saturday at the Track
Steve Sweitzer
Steve is the Sports Editor for the Lasco Press and highlights our coverage of NASCAR and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Steve is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association and a nationally published author of automotive related articles for industry trade magazines. He is also a freelance technical writer and accomplished photographer. A 25-year resident of Southeast Michigan, Steve’s passion for reporting on our community, it’s residents, and our automotive connections allow us to use his skills to cover a number of events. Steve’s ability to seek out the unique behind the scenes accounts that tell the often-overlooked aspect of a story makes for entertaining reading. Follow Steve at thelascopress.com with weekly NASCAR updates and featured articles.