Brian Vickers claimed his third pole position of the season in qualifying for the Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Vickers set a lap time of 38.073 seconds at an average speed of 189.110 mph, beating the previous benchmark set by Kyle Busch by more than one tenth of a second. The Red Bull driver will lead the field at Michigan for the second time in his career, having been on pole at the two-mile oval last August.
"There's nothing better than being on the pole," said Vickers, who is still looking for his and Red Bull's first win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. "I feel like I've got a really good racecar. Our first two race runs this morning were good and hopefully we can make it a little bit better in practice tomorrow and go after a win."
While Busch qualified second, locking up an all-Toyota front row, reigning champion Jimmie Johnson will start Sunday's race from third after being fastest during the morning practice session. David Reutimann, who brushed the wall on his first practice run earlier today, came back strong to qualify on the outside of the second row of the grid.
Kurt Busch was the fastest Dodge driver in fifth, while AJ Allmendinger completes the third row with his best qualifying result of the year thus far. Behind him Juan Pablo Montoya was seventh fastest, which will give the Colombian his best ever starting position at Michigan.
Kasey Kahne will share the fourth row of the grid with Montoya, running the Dodge R6P8 engine for only the second time this year, while rounding out the top ten were Clint Bowyer and John Andretti, the latter claiming his best qualifying result of the season. Points leader Tony Stewart will start the race from 11th place.
The best of the Fords was Bill Elliot in 15th as the best of the non-guaranteed drivers, right ahead of Matt Kenseth. The Roush Fenway racers have been tipped as the pre-race favorites, as the leading Ford squad looks for a record 12th win at Michigan, having won earlier this year at Fontana, a similar two-mile oval.
Last year's winner Dale Earnhardt Jr qualified only 30th, while his team-mate and former points leader Jeff Gordon was 27th. However he will start from the back of the field on Sunday due to his engine blowing up during practice.
Mike Skinner, driving for Tommy Baldwin's team, was the only driver who failed to qualify.SPEEDS:
Pos Driver Car Speed Time Gap
1. Brian Vickers Toyota 189.110 38.073s
2. Kyle Busch Toyota 188.536 38.189s + 0.116s
3. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 188.299 38.237s + 0.164s
4. David Reutimann Toyota 188.137 38.270s + 0.197s
5. Kurt Busch Dodge 187.950 38.308s + 0.235s
6. AJ Allmendinger Dodge 187.891 38.320s + 0.247s
7. Juan Montoya Chevrolet 187.681 38.363s + 0.290s
8. Kasey Kahne Dodge 187.407 38.419s + 0.346s
9. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 187.320 38.437s + 0.364s
10. John Andretti Chevrolet 187.251 38.451s + 0.378s
11. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 187.100 38.482s + 0.409s
12. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 187.066 38.489s + 0.416s
13. Robby Gordon Toyota 187.066 38.489s + 0.416s
14. Denny Hamlin Toyota 187.062 38.490s + 0.417s
15. Bill Elliott Ford 186.911 38.521s + 0.448s
16. Matt Kenseth Ford 186.882 38.527s + 0.454s
17. Bobby Labonte Ford 186.809 38.542s + 0.469s
18. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 186.727 38.559s + 0.486s
19. Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet 186.635 38.578s + 0.505s
20. Greg Biffle Ford 186.582 38.589s + 0.516s
21. Scott Speed Toyota 186.533 38.599s + 0.526s
22. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 186.509 38.604s + 0.531s
23. David Ragan Ford 186.446 38.617s + 0.544s
24. Joey Logano Toyota 186.427 38.621s + 0.548s
25. Elliott Sadler Dodge 186.287 38.650s + 0.577s
26. David Stremme Dodge 186.282 38.651s + 0.578s
27. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 186.229 38.662s + 0.589s
28. Reed Sorenson Dodge 186.205 38.667s + 0.594s
29. Carl Edwards Ford 186.046 38.700s + 0.627s
30. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 186.003 38.709s + 0.636s
31. Jamie McMurray Ford 185.864 38.738s + 0.665s
32. Mark Martin Chevrolet 185.854 38.740s + 0.667s
33. Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 185.787 38.754s + 0.681s
34. Marcos Ambrose Toyota 185.787 38.754s + 0.681s
35. David Gilliland Chevrolet 185.562 38.801s + 0.728s
36. Michael Waltrip Toyota 185.495 38.815s + 0.742s
37. Casey Mears Chevrolet 185.157 38.886s + 0.813s
38. Paul Menard Ford 185.095 38.899s + 0.826s
39. Dave Blaney Toyota 184.943 38.931s + 0.858s
40. Joe Nemechek Toyota 184.876 38.945s + 0.872s
41. Tony Raines Dodge 184.535 39.017s + 0.944s
42. Sterling Marlin Dodge 184.440 39.037s + 0.964s
43. Max Papis Toyota 183.360 39.267s + 1.194s
Did not qualify:
Mike Skinner Toyota 183.025 39.339s + 1.266s