BROOKLYN, Mich. -- There are a handful of favorites to win Sunday's FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway (2 p.m. ET, FS1), but Kyle Larson is the one driver that stands out the most.
Larson was fast right off the hauler on Friday, posting the fastest time in pre-qualifying practice. That turned into Larson putting his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy on pole, his second of the season.
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Déjà vu from Auto Club
To build Larson's confidence up even more, his other pole this season was earned at Auto Club Speedway, home of his only win of the season.
On top of that, it was in the same car he is racing at the two-mile oval this weekend.
Although Auto Club and Michigan have similar layouts, Larson says they are two totally different animals.
“It’s a similar size, same shape and size, but drives way different," Larson said. "Fontana has got worn out pavement and here it’s been repaved not too long ago so it’s got a lot of grip and smooth. But, yeah, this is the same car we ran at Fontana, so some added confidence there and then getting the pole definitely adds some confidence. I’ve had this race circled since last year when I won.”
Home of his first victory
Larson earned his first career Monster Energy Series victory at Michigan in August of 2016.
Known for staying up on the wheel and driving aggressively, Michigan's layout fits Larson well. He doesn't even blink an eye at throwing his car into the wide turns at blazing speeds reaching 218 miles per hour.
"To me, here you know you are going fast, but I get more of a sensation at say like Dover or Bristol on going fast just because it’s bumpy," Larson said. "The straightaways are narrow. Here the straightaways are smooth, wide, and you are not bouncing around a lot. You don’t get like the sensation that you are hauling the mail here, but when you get out of shape in the corners, when your car is loose, that is when it becomes scary."
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Speed and track position
Larson has speed, track position and the No. 1 pit stall on his side. Because of that, the road to Michigan's Victory Lane will likely go through him on Sunday.
"Starting from the pole is going to be a big deal," Larson said. "Track position is always important here at Michigan and I'm looking forward to it.”