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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, June 09, 2018 1:00 am

Auto racing

Fords fastest at Michigan

Associated Press

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Kurt Busch's impressive qualifying run highlighted a strong day for Ford in Michigan.

Busch won his second NASCAR Cup Series pole of the season Friday at Michigan International Speedway, posting a lap of 203.361 mph in his No. 41 Ford. It was the 24th pole of his career, and Ford ended up with six of the top seven spots in qualifying.

“Right now, Ford has definitely got all eight cylinders clicking hard,” Busch said. “So then it's up to me.”

Brad Keselowski was second in qualifying, followed by Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. Kyle Busch and Harvick are 1-2 in the points standings and have won nine of the 14 races in the series this year.

Kyle Busch's Toyota was the only non-Ford car in the top seven.

Kurt Busch also started first in Texas in April and finished seventh in the race. He hasn't won this season but has seven top-10 finishes.

“It's awesome to get the pole today. I wanted it bad. We went for it, made the right air pressure adjustment,” he said. “I love the fact that the track had the grip level it did today, the overcast gave me the confidence to go for it hard.”

Kurt Busch was ninth in the first round of qualifying and fourth in the second round. Then he came up with the fastest lap of the day.

NHRA: In Dinwiddie, Virginia, Courtney Force led Funny Car qualifying in the inaugural Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park.

Force had a 3.983-second pass at 323.35 mph during her second qualifying run of the day in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series' first visit to the track since 2009. The points leader is chasing her sixth No. 1 qualifier of the year and fourth in the past five events.

“We didn't really know what to expect at a new track, but once we made a solid run in the first round we knew we could make a phenomenal run in the second round to try and get our top spot back,” Force said. “It's great to be back in Virginia, and I'm really proud of my team for having such a good start to the weekend.”

Tony Schumacher led in Top Fuel, Greg Anderson in Pro Stock, and Hector Arana Jr. in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Schumacher had a 3.777 at 327.51, Anderson ran a 6.571 at 210.67, and Arana had a 6.795 at 198.15.

INDYCAR: In Fort Worth, Texas, Josef Newgarden earned his fourth career pole as Team Penske and Chevrolet took the top three spots for tonight's IndyCar race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Simon Pagenaud was second and Will Power third. The three Penske drivers were only drivers to top 220 mph.

Newgarden, the defending series champion, had a two-lap average of 220.613 mph, with Pagenaud at 220.311 mph and Indianapolis 500 winner Power at 220.194 mph.

Robert Wickens, in a Honda, qualified fourth at 219.561 mph.