BROOKLYN, Mich. — Patrick Carpentier has parlayed a good finish last week at Watkins Glen into another chance in the world’s top stock car racing series.
On Friday he gave himself a birthday present by qualifying the No. 26 Latitude 43 Racing Ford for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Carpentier, of Joliett, Que., who turned 39 on Friday, posted a lap of 184.729 m.p.h. on the big two-mile MIS oval and that made him the 25th fastest out of 47 drivers attempting to make the 43-car grid.
He will start 25th, but he has won before art Michigan, back in 2001 when he was with the Player’s Forsythe Racing team in the Champ Car World Series.
“We were not very good in practice,” he said. “But the guys worked really hard on the car and we were able to get a lot more speed out of the No. 26 Ford in the afternoon.”
Kasey Kahne, who announced earlier this week he will drive for the Red Bull Toyota team next season, will start on the pole on Sunday delivering a lap of 187.183 m.p.h. in the No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford.
Four-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will start on the outside of row one after he drove his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to a lap of 187.086 m.p.h.
Clint Bowyer was third fastest in the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet at 186.577 m.p.h.
Kahne wasn’t sure his lap would hold up and in fact he thought it might not have even been a top 10.
“I felt like (Turns) 1 and 2 was where we got the pole because we were really good there,” he said. “I didn’t really think it was a pole lap though. I was dominant until I got to three but then I felt that I wasn’t too great in turn three. I figured it would be a pretty decent lap but not pole, but then it turned out it was.”
Johnson, who has never won at Michigan in spite of leading hundreds of laps including the most last year when he ran out of gas on the final lap, hopes to tame it on Sunday.
“Sonoma and Bristol were my most frustrating tracks but now that I’ve gotten those out of the way (with wins this season) I think out of the tracks that are left, this is definitely the most frustrating,” he said. “Last year was so disappointing to lead and dominate and then run out of gas, but I’m not coming in here with the confidence that I did last year.”