Kurt Busch knew that he had a good car for the race and was happy to see that it was pretty good in qualifying too.
Busch won the pole for Sunday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway when he put down a fast lap time of 189.984 miles per hour to claim his 12th career pole and second of the season.
He spent all but one lap in practice today running in race trim but said he knew what to expect from his car in qualifying.
"The car was comfortable for that one lap," said Busch, who also won the pole at Las Vegas in February. "We were just looking at the weather and looking at tomorrow and thinking that we needed to stay in race trim today. After that one Q run I was like 'let's just tweak a couple of things.'"
Qualifying was delayed briefly by rain at MIS that washed the rubber off the track and sped things up for the drivers.
"After the rain when the qualifying got back underway I saw McMurray running a 37 (second lap) and thought 'oh, the track's fast. I'm going to hammer down," Busch said. "We freed up the car just a little bit to make sure that I wasn't on the tight side and that paid perfect dividends for us. I thought (Turns) 1 and 2 were pretty good but it was off of 4 where I made my time up."
This is Busch's first pole at Michigan but he is a two-time winner here, including 2007 when he won from a 15th place starting position.
Busch has five top-10 finishes in the past seven races, including a win in Charlotte two weeks ago. He also won the All-Star race there the week before. During that stretch, Busch has improved from 14th to fifth in the championship standings.
Jamie McMurray just missed Busch's leading time by 4/100ths of a second to qualify second. He is looking to shrug off a hard luck 36th place finish last week at Pocono.
"I think that for us going out early was going to be a huge disadvantage, and the rain maybe equalized that out a little bit," said McMurray, who will make his first top-10 start here in 15 career races. "I was really frustrated when we got the number one draw. Our GE Reveal Chevrolet was really good in race trim. I thought maybe it was one of the best cars we had all year."
Jimmie Johnson was thrilled to qualify third.
"I was very pleased with that lap," said Johnson, who will start in the top five for the ninth time this season. "I'm not really sure if I could have gone much faster. Maybe an earlier draw might have helped with a little cooler track temperature but my car was great. I'm very happy with things and am looking forward to the race."
Kasey Kahne qualified fourth while Jeff Burton qualified fifth - his best qualifying effort of the season.
"I just didn't know what to expect, but I knew my guys were going to give me a good car," said Burton, who is making his 33rd career start here and still looking for his first checkered flag. "I was pretty confident we could go good. I was actually thinking going right after the jet driers was a good thing. A lot of people get nervous about that. I never once after a rain did go faster, so I feel good about going early, and if the sun comes out, like it's doing right now, we'll be in good shape."
Point's leader Kevin Harvick qualified 31st while Johnny Sauter, Michael Waltrip and Dave Blaney failed to qualify.