Joey Logano won the pole at Michigan International Speedway — and lately at this track, that’s been a pretty good indicator of things to come.
It’s Logano’s third pole in 16 Cup races at MIS, and the previous two times he won the pole, he also went on to win the race. That includes his victory at Michigan in June.
In fact, three of the last four race winners at Michigan also took the pole — Logano this year, Matt Kenseth last August and Jeff Gordon in August of 2014.
“Obviously starting up front here is an advantage for sure when you talk about track position and safety on restarts, being how crazy it is with the low-downforce package on restarts,” Logano said. “Having the first pit stall is probably the most important of all that.”
Logano won Friday with a lap of 201.698 mph in his No. 22 Ford. Jimmie Johnson was second in qualifying for Sunday’s race, followed by Denny Hamlin.
Logano has won 17 poles in his Cup career and three in 2016.
Johnson won twice early this season but has only two top-10 finishes in his last 10 races, so his strong showing in qualifying was encouraging.
“All signs are pointing toward progress being made and I’m very excited about that. I just want to thank everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for their long hours and all the time they’re putting in to get a little better in all areas,” Johnson said. “It’s not just one thing. We have to look at everything globally and everybody in all departments is finding a way to bring a little bit more, and it’s showing up. I think all four Hendrick cars showed a lot of speed today.”
TEAM EFFORT: Among Johnson’s Hendrick teammates, Kasey Kahne qualified 11th, Chase Elliott was fifth and Alex Bowman was sixth. Bowman is filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is recovering from a concussion.
MIDDLE OF THE PACK: Greg Biffle, the active leader with four victories at Michigan, qualified 22nd.
FAST TRACK: Speeds over 200 mph have become common in recent years at Michigan, but Logano’s run didn’t come all that close to Jeff Gordon’s track qualifying record of 206.558 from 2014.
HISTORY: Logano is trying to become the third driver to win three or more races from the pole at Michigan. David Pearson did it four times and Bill Elliott three times.