Joey Logano sets Michigan track record in pole run

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For the 13th time this season, a NASCAR qualifying track record has gone down – this time, at the hands of Joey Logano, whose lap today at 203.949 miles per hour in the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford was enough to claim pole for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Logano was one of three drivers to eclipse the previous MIS qualifying record of 203.241 miles per hour, set in June of 2012 by Marcos Ambrose (203.241 mph).

His lap was also the ninth-quickest pole lap in Sprint Cup Series history, but a mere 44 one-thousandths of a second ahead of Kurt Busch, who turned in a lap at 203.695 miles per hour in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet to claim his sixth front-row start of the year.

Behind them in Row 2 will be championship leader Jimmie Johnson (203.470) and Mark Martin, while Jeff Burton (203.114) and the soon-to-be free agent Juan Pablo Montoya (202.988) make up Row 3.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, Michigan native Brad Keselowski, and last week’s winner, Kyle Busch, round out the Top 10 on Sunday’s grid. As for other notables, Greg Biffle – who won at MIS this past June – will roll off 16th, while Austin Dillon will start 27th as he fills in for the injured Tony Stewart. Danica Patrick will start 28th.

Scott Riggs was the only driver that failed to qualify this afternoon.

An IndyCar iRacing Challenge at Talladega? Drivers have discussed it

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If Dale Earnhardt Jr. is interested in an IndyCar iRacing event on an oval, he might like the latest idea being kicked around by NTT Series drivers.

“I personally would want to run at Talladega, but I don’t think that’s an option,” Arrow McLaren SP driver rookie Oliver Askew told NBCSports.com in a Friday interview about his simulation work for the second round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “IndyCar drivers have a group chat with iRacing, and someone had the idea of running at Talladega, and I thought it was brilliant.”

It actually would be a throwback of sorts as a USAC-sanctioned race with Indy cars at Talladega nearly happened 40 years ago.

The IndyCar iRacing Challenge will be running its second consecutive road course Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN or streaming here).

Of the four remaining races in the six-race series, there’s a chance that three of them could be ovals: A Drivers’ Choice track April 11; a “Random Draw” April 18 and a non-IndyCar “Dream” track May 2 (the April 25 race will be at Circuit of the Americas).

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IndyCar drivers are voting on next week’s track, and the options include high-speed ovals such as Texas Motor Speedway and Michigan Speedway.

A multicar crash at Talladega last October. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Talladega apparently isn’t on the list for next week, but surely it could be considered for a future race if it meant having Earnhardt in the field. The 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver is a six-time winner at Talladega, and the NASCAR on NBC analyst’s family is synonymous with the 2.66-mile oval where his late seven-time champion father won a record 10 times.

“I hope he can make that happen,” Askew said of racing against Earnhardt. “I hope IndyCar can grant his wish on that.”

The addition of Earnhardt would fit well with an IndyCar iRacing Challenge that already features champions from NASCAR (Jimmie Johnson) and Supercars (Scott McLaughlin).

Will Power would like to see more of that.

“I think that would be great if we can get big-name drivers from other series,” Power said. “Getting a couple guys from Europe would be cool.”