Vickers wins pole at Michigan

Published 8:13 pm Friday, August 14, 2009

BROOKLYN — Brian Vickers has gotten off to good starts recently at Michigan International Speedway, as good as you can get.

Vickers, driving the No. 83 car, captured his third consecutive pole at MIS on Friday with a speed of 187.242 mph during Gatorade Pole Day.

That removed Mark Martin from the provisional pole. His qualifying speed of 187.013 was good enough for the outside of the front row for the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 on Sunday.

Juan Pablo Montoya was third fastest, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., and Kurt Busch.

Vickers finished ninth after starting from the pole here in June and seventh last August after starting on the inside of the front row.

Quite simply, Vickers would trade all three poles and whatever else it would take for a victory at Michigan with the Chase four races away and Vickers sitting 14th in points, two places out of the Chase field.

“It’s pretty cool to make it three poles in a row here and to have as many poles as we’ve had this season (six), it’s very special to me and we’re very proud as a team,” Vickers said. “You never wish a good thing away but I’d give up all three for a win. Don’t get me wrong, we’re very proud of the poles we have here.

“We were good in practice, not great. We made some changes, made it better and ended up on the pole. I know we can get in the Chase. I definitely think we can. I know we can but that doesn’t mean we will. We can’t afford to make any mistakes and that goes for anyone around us.

“We’ve run better than 14th but a lot of things have gone wrong, incidents involving other people and flat tires are just part of it. Everyone is going to have bad luck, we just hope we have less than anyone else.”

Martin posted his 11th top-10 start in 2009 and his 24th in 48 races at MIS.

“This place is easy to drive but my car wasn’t,” said Martin, who won here last June in the LifeLock 400. “Like I told Allen (Gustafson, crew chief), you tried to kill me but I’m not mad at you. We qualified 32nd here last race. We were too tight. We did the same thing at Texas. We qualified poorly and made a plan or a pact between ourselves. It was that we might be too loose but that won’t happen to us again. I didn’t think how loose the car was going to be today.

“I just strapped in it and then found out when I hit the corner. It worked out okay. I would never do it again.”

For Montoya, it was his second top-10 start at MIS and his 10th in 23 races this season.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers take to the track Saturday for qualifications at 10:35 a.m. Grandstand gates open at 9 a.m., with parking lots open at 7 a.m.

The CARFAX 250 is set for 3:30 p.m.

Tickets are available for Saturday’s CARFAX 250 and Sunday’s CARFAX 400. Make it an affordable weekend of fun for the entire family at MIS. Call 800-354-1010 or log onto