Hamlin Rockets To Dover Pole In Record Speed

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Denny Hamlin will lead the field to the green flag Sunday at Dover Int'l Speedway. (Dave Moulthrop Photo)
Denny Hamlin will lead the field to the green flag Sunday at Dover Int'l Speedway. (Dave Moulthrop Photo)

DOVER, Del. – Denny Hamlin earned his second pole of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season in record fashion Saturday at Dover Int’l Speedway.

Hamlin claimed the pole for the Drydene 400 at Dover Int’l Speedway with a 21.559-second lap  at 166.984 mph, which reset the track record at the one-mile concrete oval. Hamlin’s lap bested the record set by Chase Elliott earlier this year at the Monster Mile.

The Virginia native barely edged his friend and rival Kyle Larson for the pole, with Larson coming up .003 seconds short. Larson will start Sunday’s race from the second position.

“For two days we were working on our golf plans for the afternoon and I said well, what time are we leaving? He said, ‘Well, I plan on getting the pole so I gotta do media, so it might be about 15 extra minutes. I’m like yeah, that sounds about right. He is fast in qualifying here,” said Hamlin, who will be making his 500th series start Sunday. “I got him. I’m so happy I beat him.

“To have that lap there, that was a really good lap for us. I knew when I ran it that it was really solid. About nine tenths quicker than we ran all day yesterday.”

Martin Truex Jr., who won the spring race at Dover Int’l Speedway, qualified third. Kevin Harvick and ROVAL winner Chase Elliott completed an all-playoff driver top-five in qualifying.

Playoff competitor William Byron qualified sixth, followed by Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Kurt Busch and playoff driver Ryan Blaney.

Other playoff drivers in the field include Alex Bowman in 12th, Joey Logano in 14th, Brad Keselowski in 16th, Clint Bowyer in 17th and Kyle Busch in 18th.

Drydene 400 Starting Lineup

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