Michigan International Speedway has routinely seen drivers top the 200 mph mark since being repaved in 2012, but Kevin Harvick blazed his way around the oval track, posting the fastest Sprint Cup qualifying time in 26 years.
Harvick posted a speed of 204.557 mph to win the pole for this week’s Quicken Loans 400, and that speed was the fastest NASCAR had seen since Bill Elliot posted a pre-restrictor plate speed of 212.809 mph at Talladega Superspeedway in April 1987.
“Today it just all came together from the time we unloaded,” Harvick told MLive.com’s Mike Griffith.”Obviously it’s a really fast lap, couple of laps. This is one of those race tracks where you are running fast, but you really can’t put it all in perspective I guess until you hit something, just for the fact that it’s so wide and so fast and so huge, but you don’t get that huge sensation of speed.”
Harvick gives credit for the fast speeds at MIS to the resurfacing of the track three years ago and the increased downforce in the Cup cars this year.
“Michigan has been fast for a long time, and I think how fast is too fast, you know what I mean?” Harvick said. ” It’s the perfect storm with fresh pavement and the cars in qualifying trim. The cars will slow down a tremendous amount when you get them in race trim and when you get them in a pack and it will be quite a bit hotter on Sunday.”
Current Sprint Cup points leader Jeff Gordon took the No. 2 position for Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400, and last week’s race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified third.