Friday's Sprint Cup qualifying session at Michigan International Speedway brought another pole for Brian Vickers.
All that's left is for the driver of the #83 Toyota to convert the speed he often shows in qualifying into a victory, which Vickers has experienced just once in his Cup career, October 2006 at Talladega.
Vickers, who topped Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson to win his eighth pole in the series and his third this season, says he can use some luck to help get to victory lane in Sunday's Lifelock 400 at the two-mile speedway in the Irish Hills.
"We've had the poles, and we've had the fast cars," said Vickers, who turned his pole-winning lap in 38.073 seconds (189.110 mph) to lead Toyotas to three of the top four starting positions. "We had the car to win here last year right up to the very end of the race. We thought we put ourselves in a great position, but we got put back several positions under the last caution for some reason.
"Later, NASCAR admitted they made a mistake in the ordering. It cost us the race. We did all we could. Charlotte (this year) - there again we did all we could (in the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 on May 24). We had the car to win, and the rain just came at the wrong time. Hopefully, we can do our part again Sunday - have the best car, make all the right decisions, and beyond that, we're just going to have to get some luck."
Vickers was the only driver to top 189 mph in qualifying. Busch earned the second starting spot for his #18 Toyota with a lap at 188.536 mph, followed by Johnson in the #48 Chevrolet at 188.299 mph. David Reutimann (188.137 mph) was fourth in his #00 Camry, with Kurt Busch (187.950 mph) taking the fifth spot in the #2 Dodge.
AJ Allmendinger, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer and John Andretti will start from positions six through ten, respectively.
Busch was surprised by Vickers' speed in relation to the rest of the field.
"Actually, I thought it was a pretty good lap," Busch said of his own qualifying effort. "I figured it'd get beat, but not by what it got beat by. Myself and Jimmie ran relatively close laps times, and Vickers was up about a tenth from me (actually .116 seconds). A tenth (of a second) at a place like this with these cars is a lot. I'm not sure where Vickers got that, but a good lap from him and his team."
Jeff Gordon qualified 27th but must start from the rear Sunday after blowing an engine (and changing it) during Friday's 90-minute practice session. At a track where Ford has dominated the competition in recent years, winning five of the last nine races at MIS, Bill Elliott in 15th was the fastest qualifier in a Ford.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 30th for his third race with new crew chief Lance McGrew. Mike Skinner was the odd man out as the only driver who failed to qualify for the field of 43.
by Reid Spencer/Sporting News