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Menard dominates qualifying and wins pole at Michigan

June 18, 2011, , NASCAR.com

Paul Menard was sixth-fastest in both of Friday's Nationwide Series practices at Michigan International Speedway, but on Saturday he jumped to the top of the charts in a big way to win his first pole of the season and at the 2-mile track.

Menard put up a blistering lap of 182.030 mph in the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet, the only driver to eclipse 181mph, for the pole. Sam Hornish Jr. was second-fastest, but a full mile-an-hour slower with a lap of 180.600 mph.

Carl Edwards (180.068 mph) was the only other driver to eclipse the 180 mph mark and will roll off third. Aric Almirola and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. round out the top five.

Elliott Sadler, Trevor Bayne, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and David Stremme will start sixth through 10th, respectively.

Menard has made just two starts in the Nationwide Series this season, both for Kevin Harvick Inc. At Texas, Menard finished third and followed that with a second-place finish at Richmond.