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Cup starting lineup for FireKeepers Casino 400: Larson on pole, Blaney goes for 2 in row


during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 16, 2017 in Brooklyn, Michigan.

Jonathan Ferrey

If you like pure unadulterated speed, Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 is likely where you’ll find it.

Since its full repave in 2012, Michigan International Speedway has become the fastest track on the NASCAR Cup circuit. The retired Jeff Gordon holds the track’s speed record of 206.381 mph.

Kyle Larson, who won his first career Cup race last August at Michigan, looks to be the strongest driver and potentially the one to beat. Not only was Larson the fastest in Friday’s lone practice session, he also won the pole for Sunday’s race with a speed of 202.156 mph.

Larson feels especially at home at MIS because it suits his driving style the best -- he likes speed, and lots of it, and rides the high line through the turns with aplomb. It’s not surprising, as MIS is a twin to another of Larson’s favorite tracks, Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

Martin Truex Jr. will start on the outside of the front row for the third consecutive race.

Row 2 will feature Clint Bowyer starting from the third spot -- tying his best start of the season -- and Kyle Busch, who is still seeking his first win since last year’s Brickyard 400. In fact, all four of Joe Gibbs Racing’s Cup drivers have yet to reach victory lane in 2017.


Ryan Blaney, who won Sunday at Pocono, looks for a second straight win this Sunday at Michigan.

Sarah Crabill

Row 3 features another JGR driver, Denny Hamlin, and last Sunday’s winner at Pocono, Ryan Blaney. If Blaney can make it two wins in a row, he’ll give the legendary Wood Brothers their 100th NASCAR Cup victory.

In Row 4, defending race winner Joey Logano starts from the seventh spot and looks to break a slide that has seen him fail to finish higher than 23rd in the last five races, and also caused him to drop from fifth to 11th in the NASCAR Cup driver standings. Jamie McMurray starts outside in the eighth position.

Lastly in Row 5, Matt Kenseth starts from the ninth position, while Chase Elliott is alongside, still looking for his first career Cup win.

There are only 37 drivers entered for this race.

Click here for the row-by-row starting lineup for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400.

Follow @JerryBonkowski