Lightning McQueen is back in action in Cars 3, and Kyle Larson is doing his best to imitate the racecar cartoon.
Larson’s Cars 3-inspired No. 42 machine went to the top of the pylon at Michigan International Speedway as qualifying came to an end, giving the Chip Ganassi Racing driver his second pole of 2017 and third of his career. He clocked in a time of 35.616 seconds, stealing the top spot, which Martin Truex Jr. was holding with moments to spare in qualifying, giving the No. 78 team its third straight runner-up start.
“We made some good adjustments there for that final round,” Larson told Fox Sports 2. “I was pretty good in the first round and a little bit tight in the second round. They went a step further on freeing it up for the final round and the Cars 3 Chevy drove good. I could tell by the rpm and the engine it was going to be a pretty good lap so I was happy about that to get the pole after winning here last year.”
Larson will lead the field to the green flag Sunday for the FireKeepers Casino at Michigan, marking the fourth time he’s done so in 2017. Qualifying at Bristol Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway were rained out, putting the No. 42 car at the front of the field as the lineup is set by owner points when qualifying cannot occur.
With one win on the year at Auto Club Speedway, Larson is looking to pick up where he left off at Michigan last August, when he led 41 laps en route to his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series triumph.
Jimmie Johnson, fresh off a contract extension, will start 13th after just missing a shot at going out for one more lap of qualifying at the end of Round 2.
Darrell Wallace Jr., making his second start in the No. 43 car, will start 27th after missing the second round of qualifying. Both JTG Daugherty Racing cars also missing Round 2 and will start 25th and 26th.
Landon Cassill did not take a lap in qualifying as his No. 34 backup car was not ready in time for qualifying after getting into the wall during Friday’s practice session.