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Another Week – Another Track Record

John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

Two weeks in a row.  We saw record setting, blazing speeds in NASCAR racing last weekend due to the newly paved Pocono Raceway and the same is happening again this weekend in Michigan.

The reason is the same.  A brand new race surface with lots of grip.  Michigan International Speedway was repaved last fall and is now the fastest unrestricted track on the circuit.

In qualifying for Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400, only two drivers in the field did not beat the old track record and 19 drivers went over 200 mph.  It has been 25 years since Bill Elliott laid down a qualifying lap of over 200 mph.

Marcos Ambrose won the pole in his Stanley No. 9 Ford Fusion for Richard Petty Motorsports with a speed of 203.241 mph.  Kevin Harvick will start his No. 29 alongside Ambrose on the front row.

The old track record at MIS for the Sprint Cup Series was 194.232 mph set by Ryan Newman in 2005.  Ryan qualified 5th for this year’s race with a speed of 201.472 and his sponsor, the U.S. Army, celebrates its 237th birthday this week. Two cake-cutting ceremonies will be held with Newman - one after the drivers’ meeting and the other on-stage before driver introductions.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. qualified 17th – four years after he last won at this track.  Junior has not won in the 143 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races run since then.  His chances this week continue to be good.  He has been running well every week at every track and sits second in points coming into this weekend’s action at Michigan.  Clearly, Earnhardt is close to his next win.

Here is the complete lineup.

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