BROOKLYN, Mich. – No one was faster than Denny Hamlin during Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying on Friday afternoon at Michigan Int’l Speedway.
Hamlin swept all three rounds of knockout qualifying to grab his second-straight pole and 28th of his career aboard the No. 11 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
He ran his fastest lap during the final round of knockout qualifying, lapping the two-mile Michigan oval in 35.504 seconds at 202.794 mph to edge his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and points leader Kyle Busch by .011 of a second.
“I didn’t get all of it, for sure, but definitely the team gave me a great driving car,” Hamlin said after earning the pole for Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400. “I was just easily able to consistently back up times time after time. We got faster every run on the race track today.
“I’m proud of this whole FedEx Toyota team. These guys are really stepping up and we’re starting to make a little hay now.”
Kevin Harvick was the fastest Ford in the field, qualifying a strong third in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. Erik Jones gave Toyota three cars in the top-four positions by qualifying fourth, with Austin Dillon qualifying fifth in his Chevrolet.
Ryan Newman qualified sixth, followed by reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. in seventh. Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch completed the top dozen in the final round of qualifying.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the first driver who failed to advance into the final round. He’ll start 13th.
Daniel Suarez was the lone driver who failed to record a lap during qualifying after slapping the wall on his lone attempt in the first round. He’ll start the race from the 40th position.