CONCORD, N.C. – Denny Hamlin demolished the track record at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday during qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600, scoring his second pole of the season in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition in the process.
Hamlin put the No. 11 FedEx Toyota on the pole with a 27.604-second lap at 195.624 mph. The previous track record of 193.708 mph was set by Greg Biffle last October.
“Normally I wouldn’t commit myself to running a lap like that. I feel it is too dangerous and I’d rather take my fifth or sixth qualifying effort and kind of move on” Hamlin said. “We have a mission ahead and that is to try to make the Chase and the best way to do that is to win races.
“To win races you’ve got to have every advantage you can, one of them being the number one pit stall. I really just committed to running the best lap I could and pushing every envelope I usually don’t push,” Hamlin said.
The only other drivers to qualify in the 195 mph bracket were Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth, who qualified second and third respectively. Mark Martin and Kasey Kahne completed the top five.
Eight different drivers broke the previous track record during Thursday’s qualifying session.
Mike Bliss was the only driver who failed to qualify.