BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) — Brad Keselowski has never won a NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan.
For some drivers, that might be no big deal, but Keselowski is from Rochester Hills, about 90 miles from Michigan International Speedway.
“A win here would be like winning the Daytona 500 for me,” Keselowski said. “A home track means a lot to any race car driver.”
It’s a bit surprising that Keselowski hasn’t won at Michigan, considering he gets two chances a year at the Cup level. He finished second in 2012 and has five top-five showings in 17 starts. He’ll have another chance Sunday, and after qualifying second, he has to be considered a contender.
Keselowski was one of six Ford drivers in the top seven in qualifying, including pole winner Kurt Busch.
Keselowski won the pole at MIS last August and led 105 laps, but he finished 17th. Keselowski has won Xfinity races at Michigan, but he has no victories there at the top level.
“It is your friends and family and there is a lot of notoriety that comes with it. That makes the losses sting more and the wins sweeter,” Keselowski said. “The fact we have been so close and not achieved it is very top of mind every time I come here.”
Keselowski is fifth in the Cup standings this year, the top driver without a victory. His most recent win was at Talladega last season.
“I want to win, I want to win a lot of races. I feel like we have a pretty strong team,” he said. “We have had two or three races where we had the speed to win. That said, we haven’t been able to execute on those. We have had a number of races we had the speed to run third to fifth and it seems we have executed very well on those weekends and didn’t catch any luck to go with it.”
A few more things to watch Sunday:
ANOTHER LOCAL HOPE
Erik Jones of Byron finished third last August in only his second Cup start at Michigan.
“Coming home to Michigan and spending some time at home, and coming back to the track that’s so close to my house is nice,” Jones said. “Any first win would be big, especially at Michigan.”
The 22-year-old Jones is winless in 53 Cup races. He qualified eighth for Sunday.
Kyle Larson has won the last three Cup races at Michigan. He qualified 26th this week, however.
Points leader Kyle Busch has won four of this season’s 14 races, and second-place Kevin Harvick has five victories. Martin Truex Jr., the defending series champion, has won twice.
“I think for us we’re working as hard as we ever have,” Truex said. “Certainly, as hard as we did last year to make sure we can have a shot at doing it again, and I think right now we’re in decent shape to be able to do it, but things change fast, so you’ve got to keep working and you’ve got to keep your head down and just keep grinding it out each week.”
ON THE POLE
Kurt Busch won the pole Friday, his second of the season. He doesn’t have a win this year but is seventh in the standings.
UP TO SPEED
Larson was second to Harvick in Saturday morning’s practice. The final scheduled Cup practice later in the day was canceled because of rain. Joey Logano had the third-fastest time Saturday morning, followed by Clint Bowyer and Keselowski.
More AP auto racing: www.racing.ap.org .
Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister