Faster than a speeding bullet

Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M/Salute Ford, climbs into his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 15, 2012 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Speeds at Michigan were supposed to taper off after Thursday’s test session, as the track heated up and Nationwide and ARCA cars laid rubber on the racing surface.

That didn’t happen. In Friday’s final Cup practice, Greg Biffle made a mock qualifying run around the two-mile track in 35.172 seconds. That translates to a staggering 204.708 mph.

Biffle was at a loss to explain why speeds haven’t abated. He approached his run in qualifying trim expecting to find a slicker racetrack. Instead, the driver of the No. 16 Ford found just the opposite.

“To be perfectly honest with you, after our first practice today — going into our second — I knew we would do all qualifying,” Biffle told the NASCAR Wire Service. “I went back to my motor home, and I am soaking wet, and I took off my suit and hung it up and let it dry out. I put it back on and came back to do qualifying and I thought it was going to be a disaster, because I thought the track would be slick and we would be sliding all over.

“I thought we would be frustrated going into (qualifying on Saturday) not knowing what to expect with track conditions. That was totally not the case. It caught me off guard how fast the track was and how much grip it has right now. Quite frankly, maybe the heat — it is pretty damn hot out there — maybe the heat is actually providing a certain amount of that grip. That could be. Normally it works in reverse. It could be the surface and the tire combination.”

All told, 14 drivers in final practice posted laps in excess of 200 mph, promising a wild qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.

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