Kurt Busch leads Chevy effort and that makes him happy

BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN - JUNE 08: Kurt Busch, driver of the #1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, drives during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 08, 2019 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Saturday’s seventh-place qualifying effort at Michigan International Speedway wasn’t Kurt Busch’s best of the season, but it was clearly a step in the right direction.

Busch’s No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was the fastest of that manufacturer, and, in a 2019 season where Busch has averaged a starting position of 16.9, it was second only to his second-place qualifying spot at Richmond in April.

Busch had topped 187 mph in the draft both of Friday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practices, and his 186.577 mpg lap in time trials, with no drafting partner, was consistent with the practice speeds.

“I was happy we backed up our lap from yesterday over to today,” Busch said after the time trials. “We’ve been a little off on qualifying, and it was nice to build that consistency (with) the qualifying setups. This was very similar to our Kansas run (ninth), and we were able to polish up on that.

“That was about all we were going to get. I’m happy we were top 10 with our Chevy, because we still have to leave enough in it for our race-trim balance with the impound procedure. There are times where you want to be the pole, and there are times where you just want to have that nice, consistent run. I’m happy with where we are.”

The Firekeepers Casino 400 at the 2-mile track is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Greg Engle