Hamlin Roars To Provisional Pole At Martinsville

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Hamlin Roars To Provisional
Denny Hamlin poses with the Busch Pole Award at Martinsville Speedway. (Ryan Willard photo)

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Denny Hamlin continued his present-day mastery of Martinsville Speedway on Saturday by securing the provisional Busch Pole Award during qualifying for the First Data 500.

Hamlin toured the .526-mile paper clip in 19.354 seconds (97.840 mph) to garner his 33rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole, third of the season and fourth at Martinsville.

The Chesterfield, Va., native will seek his sixth Ridgeway grandfather clock trophy – and first since 2015 – on Sunday afternoon with the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry.

“I did an OK job (as a driver), but this FedEx Camry has been good all weekend,” Hamlin noted. “It was pretty fast in practice. The feel hasn’t always been great, and we didn’t expect to run that fast … but I drove it to its capability and that was all we had. To have the pole here is great, obviously, in a lot of ways.

“I look forward to 500 more laps of this on Sunday, and hopefully punching our ticket to Homestead.”

The official lineup will be confirmed following pre-race technical inspection on Sunday morning. One failure will cause a driver’s qualifying time to be disallowed, while two or more will lead to additional penalties.

Chase Elliott would have joined Hamlin on the front row after a lap of 19.383 seconds (97.694 mph) with the No. 9 Mountain Dew Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, but will have to drop to the rear of the field due to an engine change following the opening practice session on Saturday morning.

Martin Truex Jr. qualified third, followed by Aric Almirola, who will move up to the outside of the front row after timing in fourth fastest. Front Row Motorsports’ Michael McDowell completed the top five.

Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Joey Logano were the balance of the top 10.

Kevin Harvick will start lowest among the eight remaining playoff drivers after qualifying 22nd.

The First Data 500 is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start on Sunday afternoon, with live coverage on NBCSN, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

Provisional starting lineup for the First Data 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway:

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Chase Elliott
  3. Martin Truex Jr.
  4. Aric Almirola
  5. Michael McDowell
  6. Ryan Blaney
  7. Clint Bowyer
  8. Erik Jones
  9. Daniel Suarez
  10. Joey Logano
  11. William Byron
  12. Matt DiBenedetto
  13. Kyle Busch
  14. Kyle Larson
  15. Brad Keselowski
  16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  17. David Ragan
  18. Daniel Hemric
  19. Alex Bowman
  20. Chris Buescher
  21. Ryan Preece
  22. Kevin Harvick
  23. Austin Dillon
  24. Jimmie Johnson
  25. Kurt Busch
  26. Bubba Wallace
  27. Ryan Newman
  28. Corey LaJoie
  29. Ty Dillon
  30. Paul Menard
  31. Matt Crafton
  32. Landon Cassill
  33. BJ McLeod
  34. Reed Sorenson
  35. JJ Yeley
  36. Ross Chastain
  37. Timmy Hill
  38. Garrett Smithley