Another race, another pole for Kurt Busch. This is a drill he's happy to get used to.
Busch won his third consecutive pole in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, finishing first in qualifying Saturday at Michigan International Speedway with a lap of 188.699 mph.
Busch is sixth in the points standings and has finished in the top 10 in three straight races, including a second-place showing last weekend at Pocono Raceway. He has not won in 2011, but he's enjoyed better results after taking his Penske Racing team to task earlier this season.
"I'm thankful that everybody was able to pull together and understand that we should just try something different," he said. "It's great to be able to see the results pop up so soon. I had no idea that we were right around the corner."
Busch was forced to a backup car last weekend after damaging his No. 22 Dodge in practice. There's been less drama this time around as he prepares for today's 400-mile race (1 p.m., TNT).
"This was a conventional weekend, so to speak," he said.
Busch was the pole-sitter in Michigan last June as well, and he finished third.
David Reutimann (188.684 mph) was second in qualifying, and Matt Kenseth (188.620) was third. Vickers, who was fourth, was the leader at one point but Kenseth, Busch and Reutimann all posted faster laps toward the end.
"Right there at the end a big cloud came over and it cooled down quite a bit," Vickers said. "I'm sure it helped those guys and they ran pretty good, too."
Kenseth, who is seventh in the points standings, will start near the front today, and that's not necessarily a familiar feeling. Kenseth qualified in the top 10 for only the fourth time this season.
"I don't think I've had three poles in 12 years," said Kenseth, who won only his fifth career pole in Las Vegas in March.
Points leader Carl Edwards was 23rd. Jeff Gordon, coming off a win at Pocono, was 31st. Newman, who set the track's qualifying record in 2005 at 194.232 mph, was 13th this time around.
Around the tracks
* IndyCar driver Simona De Silvestro was taken to a hospital after she crashed during qualifying at the Milwaukee Mile.
A series spokesperson said De Silvestro was awake and alert, but transported by ground to Froedtert Hospital for further evaluation. She spun and slammed the wall hard during her qualifying run, then went skidding backward into the inside wall.
Dario Franchitti won the pole position Saturday for the race today (3:30 p.m., Ch. 7).
* Carl Edwards raced to his fourth NASCAR Nationwide victory of the year, passing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with less than 10 laps remaining at Michigan International Speedway.
Edwards had finished second in three straight Nationwide races since winning at Dover in May, but he was able to slip underneath Stenhouse and then cut in front of him before holding on to win by 1.669 seconds in the No. 60 Ford.