Kurt Busch trying to break bad stretch at Michigan

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Before qualifying on the front row yesterday, Kurt Busch expected this weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway to be the toughest of the four “regular season” races that stand between him and a potential berth in the Chase.

Busch, who is 11th in the Sprint Cup standings and only two points out of the Top 10, has won twice at Michigan in his career but has had five finishes of 30th or worse in his last six starts there (three of which ended in DNFs).

“Michigan has been real good or real bad,” Busch said. “So, if you go by the law of averages, I hope this time around is pretty good…This time around, we hope we can parallel what we did at Pocono a couple weeks ago, which was to improve and find more comfort in the car.”

If Busch can get out of Michigan with a good finish, it could set up a big stretch run through the three remaining races after this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway.

Busch has won a combined eight career Cup races at Bristol (five) and Atlanta (three), and he notched a Top-10 finish in the spring race at Richmond International Raceway this year.

“If we get through this [week], then I think we’ve got a really good shot at things,” he said.

However, he also knows that past performance does not equal future success: “It’s all about what you’ve done lately and I haven’t been to Victory Lane in a long while,” he noted.

Formula 1: Ricciardo on Monaco pole, Verstappen to start last

Photo: Getty Images
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Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo has dominated all weekend long at the Monaco Grand Prix, leading every single practice session prior to qualifying.

And qualifying was more of the same for the Australian driver, whose quick lap in Q3 came in at 1:10.810, a new track record, to take the pole by more than two tenths of a second over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Meanwhile, Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen endured a much more difficult day, which started with a hard crash in FP3.

Verstappen’s Red Bull RB14 suffered extensive damage to the right side, and even more damage was later found in the car’s gearbox. Such repairs ultimately proved too time consuming, and Verstappen will start Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix from last.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton filled out the top three by qualifying third, with Ferrari and Mercedes also taking the fourth and fifth spots on the grid, with Kimi Raikkonen in fourth and Valtteri Bottas in fifth.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, and Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. take up spots six, seven, and eight on the grid. Sergio Perez made it two Force Indias in Q3, qualifying ninth, while Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly qualified tenth.

Full qualifying results are below. Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix kicks off at 9:00 a.m. ET.

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