DOVER, Del. – Denny Hamlin continued his march up the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings by earning the pole for Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover Int’l Speedway.
Hamlin earned his third pole of the season in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota thanks to a 22.599-second lap at 159.299 mph Saturday afternoon at the one-mile concrete oval. Clint Bowyer qualified second in his Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.
“We’ve been working on getting our cars better and driving better,” Hamlin said. “Darian (Grubb) and the guys have just done an amazing job giving me these race cars each and every weekend. I told the media yesterday if we can get our car to where I like the way it drives here, there is no reason why we can’t win.
“I’m not going to sit here and think we’re going to have to be on the defense all weekend. This is a good offensive statement.”
Bowyer’s teammate Martin Truex, Jr. qualified third. Sam Hornish, Jr. timed in fourth, followed by Kyle Busch in fifth.
Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski completed the top 10 in qualifying.
The remaining Chase contenders qualified 11th (Jimmie Johnson), 12th (Matt Kenseth), 14th (Kevin Harvick), 24th (Tony Stewart) and 25th (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.).
The go-or-go-homers that made the race are Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Josh Wise, Reed Sorenson, Michael McDowell, Scott Speed, Scott Riggs, Joe Nemechek and Dave Blaney.
David Stremme, Mike Bliss, Jason Leffler, Cole Whitt and Kelly Bires failed to qualify.