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Brooklyn, Mich. • Dale Earnhardt Jr. snapped a long losing streak when he won at Michigan International Speedway two years ago.
How much have times changed? A victory this week would give NASCAR's most popular driver a winning streak.
Earnhardt has already reached Victory Lane twice this year, including last weekend at Pocono.
Now third in the Sprint Cup standings, Earnhardt has three second-place finishes in 2014 to go with his two wins and the question is no longer whether he can win, but how often.
"Definitely that's new," Earnhardt said. "That's the new conversation topic for us, but I just want to win the next one. We have so much fun winning and going to Victory Lane and last week was so much fun [with] the feeling that you have inside and that you have for several hours after that. It's like the best feeling ever. And I want to do it again. I want to do it now, this weekend."
Earnhardt paired his first career win at Pocono with his Daytona 500 championship for his first multi-win season since 2004. He's won twice at Michigan, including the 2012 victory that was his first in a Cup race anywhere since he also won at MIS four years earlier.
Earnhardt's success this year has come to some degree at the expense of Brad Keselowski, who got his break when Earnhardt hired him to drive for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series.
Although their developing rivalry does not involve any real bad blood, Earnhardt and Keselowski have found themselves going head to head a decent amount lately.
When Earnhardt won at Daytona, Keselowski was third, and Keselowski was second to Earnhardt last weekend at Pocono. Keselowski did win at Las Vegas early in the season with Earnhardt finishing second.
Although Keselowski is from Michigan, he's never won a Cup race at MIS, finishing as high as second. A win by Keselowski would extend Ford's winning streak to four Cup races at this track. Joey Logano took last year's August event, and Greg Biffle took the two before that.
Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports have won the past four Cup races this year, with Jimmie Johnson winning twice and points leader Jeff Gordon also earning a victory in that span.
Paul Menard won the Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday when leader Logano was victimized by a flat tire with about five laps remaining.
Menard ended up holding off Sam Hornish Jr. by a half-second for his first series victory since 2006. It was his first Nationwide start of the season. Earnhardt Jr. finished third.
Quicken Loans 400
P Sunday, 11 a.m.
TV • TNT
Friday qualifying; race Sunday
At Michigan International Speedway
Lap length: 2 miles
(Car number in parentheses)
1. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 204.557.
2. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 203.776.
3. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 203.729.
4. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 203.2.
5. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 203.04.
6. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 202.908.
7. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 202.401.
8. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 202.043.
9. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 202.032.
10. (55) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 201.331.
11. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 200.49.
12. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 201.117.
13. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 200.876.
14. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 200.842.
15. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 200.831.
16. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 200.82.
17. (51) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 200.73.
18. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 200.518.
19. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 200.457.
20. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 200.128.
21. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 199.967.
22. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 199.534.
23. (21) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 199.518.
24. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 199.165.
25. (47) AJ Allminger, Chevrolet, 200.837.
26. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 200.457.
27. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 200.451.
28. (12) Juan Pablo Montoya, Ford, 200.217.
29. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 199.933.
30. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 199.75.
31. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 199.617.
32. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, 198.593.
33. (34) David Ragan, Ford, 198.571.
34. (66) Brett Moffitt, Toyota, 198.347.
35. (44) J.J. Yeley, Chevrolet, 197.9.
36. (33) David Stremme, Chevrolet, 197.666.
37. (7) M. Annett, Chevrolet, Owner Points.
38. (98) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, Owner Points.
39. (40) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Owner Points.
40. (36) R. Sorenson, Chevrolet, Owner Points.
41. (23) Alex Bowman, Toyota, Owner Points.
42. (26) Cole Whitt, Toyota, Owner Points.
43. (32) Travis Kvapil, Ford, Owner Points.
Failed to Qualify
44. (83) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 196.931.