BROOKLYN, Mich. — Brad Keselowski will be joined by family and friends during the NASCAR Cup race Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

And for the first time, Keselowski hopes to be able to celebrate a victory with them at the track about 70 miles away from his hometown in suburban Detroit.

Keselowski won the series championship in 2012 and has 30 career Cup victories, but he hasn’t won any of his 20 races at MIS – where he made his Cup debut 10 years ago.

“It definitely nags on me,” he acknowledged. “The advantage of being the pole-sitter is really dependent on how the yellows fall. It can be a huge advantage if the race has a lot of yellows. If the race doesn’t have any yellows, it can even be a slight disadvantage with pit stalls.”

The Team Penske driver, who has three Cup victories this year, was the fastest Friday in qualifying with a lap of 190.471 mph around the 2-mile oval.

Kevin Harvick will start second, followed by William Byron, Alex Bowman, Clint Bowyer and Chase Elliott. Points leader Kyle Busch will start 24th in the 38-car field.

Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson qualified 12th and is desperately hoping to be in the 16-driver playoffs.

“We have to be in the playoffs,” he said.

INDYCAR: McLaren will return to full-time IndyCar competition next season for the first time since 1979 in a partnership with existing team Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

The new venture will be renamed Arrow McLaren Racing SP and rely on SPM’s current infrastructure. McLaren will be responsible for technical expertise, commercial experience and marketing. It will be a two-car team but switch next season to Chevrolet.

“IndyCar has been part of McLaren since our early years of racing, and the series today provides not only a commercial platform to continue to grow our brand in North America, but competition with some of the best teams in international motorsport,” said Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing. “We come to IndyCar in full respect of the sport, our competitors, the fans and the task ahead.

“At our core, we at McLaren are racers and where there’s competition that puts us to the test, we will race.”

The team currently fields cars for James Hinchcliffe and Marcus Ericsson, and Hinchcliffe is a longtime Honda ambassador and star of ads for the automaker in North America.

Brown said Ericsson is under a one-year contract that will be reviewed, but Brown answered “yes” when asked by The Associated Press specifically if Hinchcliffe is expected to drive for the team next year.

“Hinch is under contract and we think he’s an excellent racing driver who has won lots of races and he does have big ties to Honda,” Brown said. “From our point of view, we are very happy to continue to have Hinch and that’s kind of the state of play.”

Hinchcliffe later indicated on social media that he will be a Chevrolet driver next season and stay with the new team.

“My love for motorsports started on those weekends watching F1 races with my dad and McLaren was a huge part of that,” the Canadian posted. “To be able to drive for that name is a dream come true. …

“It is rather unfortunate what this means for our relationship with Honda. They are another company that has done so much for me and when the time is right, a discussion to what that means for my partnership with them and HondaCanada will need to occur. But that is secondary right now to this exciting news.”

Hinchcliffe drove for Chevrolet in 2012 and 2013 when he was part of the Andretti Autosport lineup.

Schmidt has been a Honda team since 2010 and all seven of Schmidt’s IndyCar victories were powered by the automaker. Schmidt also won two Indianapolis 500 poles with Honda power. But McLaren had an ugly split in Formula One with Honda and the engine maker is not willing to work with the team at this point.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.