A bit too fast?

Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet, stands on the grid during...

Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 16, 2012 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images/AFP)

Dean McNulty, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:01 AM ET

BROOKLYN, MICH. - A flat tire on the family sedan in the morning commute can be dangerous but the same flat tire at more than 200 m.p.h. can be deadly.

That is what NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers faced Saturday as Goodyear rushed 1,200 new tires to Michigan International Speedway to handle faster than expected speeds for Sunday's Quicken Loans 400.

The prospect of mass tire failures became an issue late in Friday's final Sprint Cup practice when a number of race teams reported severe blistering of left side tires when speeds were consistently above the 200 m.p.h. mark.

And on Saturday Marcos Ambrose ran the fastest qualifying lap in a quarter century -- 203.241 m.p.h. -- to take Sunday's pole in the No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford.

Kevin Harvick was second fastest in the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet at 202.037 m.p.h. with Greg Biffle third fastest at 201.816 in the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.

In total 19 of the 43 Sprint Cup cars surpassed the magic 200 m.p.h. mark at MIS.

As a result Goodyear and NASCAR bosses decided to bring in a harder compound tire for Sunday's race to avoid the debacle of four years ago at the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis when a spat of blown tires ground the race to a crawl when tires were exploding about every 10 laps or so.

The change, however, puts teams under tremendous pressure to adjust their race setups with the new rubber.

After Ambrose won the pole NASCAR ordered a 75-minute unscheduled practice to allow the teams time to evaluate and adjust to the new left side tires.

But there could even be a problem with the new left-side tires as they were last used in 2007 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and have been in storage even since then.

Biffle said that he is concerned about how the new tires will race and he fears safety might be compromised just to bring down speeds.

"Certainly safety comes to mind at the speeds we are going," he said. "I am not a tire specialist but it seems like a tire from 2007 blowing the dust off it and putting it on a car going 200 might not be the best idea.

"I don't know if that would have been my first choice as a driver, let me put it that way."

Ambrose said that he for one, has no concerns about the decision on the tire issues. He said that drivers get paid to go fast and test the limits of the race cars.

"There is nothing wrong with pushing the limits," the Australian driver said. "We are race car drivers and it is what we do. We are going to put the pedal to the metal and we are going to go."

Ambrose said that even though speed is a relevant thing he was still astounded that 3,400-pound stock cars were averaging more than 200 m.p.h. at MIS.

"Speed is relevant to what everybody else is running," he said. "It's a big deal on us is to sit on pole, but we ran 203 m.p.h. That is like IndyCar speeds.

"Being able to accomplish that -- to run 203 m.p.h. -- is more exciting to me than sitting on pole."

A number of drivers expressed relief that new tires were going to be used on Sunday to bring those speeds down and A.J. Allmendinger, driver of the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge was one of them.

"Obviously there's a blistering problem so they did the right thing because it's scary as hell out there as it is anyway," he said. "It's good that they are going to fix it."

And Allmendinger's Penske teammate Brad Keselowski said NASCAR had to act to prevent a repeat of what happened at Indianapolis in 2008.

"We've got to have safety in the sport, we've got to make sure that we don't have another Indy issue," he said. "Obviously you'd like to get it right the first time and that didn't happen."

Harvick agreed.

"I think that's the right move," he said. "We don't need another Indy, so I'm glad that they had a back-up plan."

Hunter-Reay claims IndyCar win

Ryan Hunter-Reay got his first IZOD IndyCar Series victory of the 2012 season Saturday winning the Milwaukee IndyFest 225 at the historic Milwaukee Mile oval in the No. 28 ? Andretti Autosport Chevrolet.

Tony Kanaan was second in the KV Racing Technology Chevrolet.

And Oakville's James Hinchcliffe made it a Chevrolet podium sweep bringing the No. 17 Andretti machine home third.

In fact Chevrolet teams claimed the top six spots with Oriol Servia fourth, E.J. Viso fifth and Helio Castroneves sixth.

"To pull off the podium in that last stint just shows we never give up," Hinchcliffe said. "That has been our thing all season long. We found ourselves down a bit a couple times and we always seem to rally back by the checkered flag."

Montreal's Alex Tagliani was the top Honda, finishing seventh -- his best result of the season -- in the No. 98 Barracuda/Bryan Herta Racing Dallara.

"There were some times when we were more competitive a couple times when back-markers tripped us up," Tagliani said. "That's Milwaukee style racing, although it's frustrating because I know we have even more potential."

The start of the race was delayed about 90 minutes because of rain.

Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti started on the pole but dropped back late in the race before spinning out and hitting the wall on lap 195.

-- Dean McNulty

FLASH

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Joey Logano fought off James Buescher to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Alliance Truck Parts 250 Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

Logano crossed the finish line .208 seconds ahead of Buescher to claim his fifth victory in 11 Nationwide starts this season and the 14th win of his career.

Kurt Busch finished third, with Cole Whitt fourth and pole-sitter Austin Dillon fifth.


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