Vickers musters up Michigan pole

With the ink barely dry on a new long-term contract with Red Bull Racing, Brian Vickers grabbed the pole for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Friday. Vickers put down a fast lap of 189.111 miles per hour to claim his third...

With the ink barely dry on a new long-term contract with Red Bull Racing, Brian Vickers grabbed the pole for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Friday.

Vickers put down a fast lap of 189.111 miles per hour to claim his third pole of the season.

"I was really happy with the car in practice," Vickers said. "The guys did a tremendous job with it. I was able to get wide open and stay there."

Vickers said he knew going in to qualifying that he had a car good enough to claim the pole.

"We unloaded in race trim and made two race runs and I was really happy with the car," said Vickers, who reportedly signed a five-year contract extension with his race team this week. "We knew we had to make some gains in rear grip coming off the corner. We ended up fixing it in qualifying trim and hopefully will for tomorrow as well."

Vickers qualified on the front row in his first Sprint Cup race at MIS in 2004 and took the pole here last August.

"We've had two really good qualifying efforts here," Vickers said. "We've always run really well here. We thought we had a win last year but had a mix up at the end of the race with positioning on the last re-start. Hopefully we can get it back this weekend."

Vickers claimed his eighth career pole and said that he is anxious to race on Sunday. He is looking for his first win in 11 tries here in the Irish Hills.

"I found that our race trim is typically better than our qualifying trim," Vickers said. "Typically we're a good long-run race car. It just so happens that we've got three poles this year. It makes the racing a lot easier. It's not just the track position - that definitely helps - but a lot of it is the pit position. Getting that first box out is always an advantage."

Kyle Busch qualified second - .116 seconds behind - to make up an all-Toyota front row for Sunday.

"We were happy with it," Busch said of his qualifying effort. "I expected someone to beat it. We'll take that starting spot and hopefully we'll be faster tomorrow and ready for Sunday."

Jimmie Johnson qualified third but felt like he could have won the pole.

"I kind of guessed wrong on the grip level in (Turn) 1," Johnson said. "I got in there a little too soft. I knew I was behind and went down into Turn 3 and tried to make back the time. I feel like I gave some back. I kind of over-adjusted. My guys gave me a great race car - we had a shot at the pole. The car was better than the driver did and I'll have to make it back for them on Sunday."

David Reutimann qualified fourth while Kurt Busch rounded out the top five.

"I'm kind of bummed - I thought we had a pole-potential car," Busch said. "The adjustments we made since practice were perfect and I kind of felt like I left it all out there. We just came up a bit short."

Points' leader Tony Stewart qualified 11th while Mike Skinner was the only car that failed to qualify.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Mike Skinner , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , David Reutimann , Brian Vickers , Kyle Busch