NASCAR: Hamlin halts Penske's pole streak

NASCAR: Hamlin halts Penske's pole streak

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NASCAR: Hamlin halts Penske's pole streak


Denny Hamlin ended Penske’s run of pole positions in a close-fought NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying session at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Penske’s Fords had previously swept the front row for both of the first two events of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying format at Phoenix and Las Vegas. It looked like a similar result was on the cards as Joey Logano topped the first part of qualifying, then he and teammate Brad Keselowski produced dead-level 14.904-second laps to lead the pole shootout early on.

Logano had been classified second at that point as Keselowski had set his time first, but he improved by 0.01sec next time around to make provisional pole his own. Hamlin, however, had only done one flying lap in part one of qualifying so had fresher tires than anyone else on his Joe Gibbs Toyota. He duly blasted out a 14.761sec lap to depose Logano.

Hamlin’s teammate Matt Kenseth – one of many drivers to crash in practice – briefly made it a JGR one-two before Keselowski split them with a lap just 0.003sec shy of the poleman. That was the last shot any of the front-runners had, leaving Hamlin on pole ahead of Keselowski, Kenseth and Logano.

Marcos Ambrose hung back in the pits until the final moments of the pole session, then put his Richard Petty Ford fifth, sharing row three with Jeff Gordon.

Kurt Busch had been fastest in practice, but was denied the final place in pole qualifyng by Kenseth, so will start 13th. That still made Busch the best of the Stewart-Haas pack. Phoenix winner Kevin Harvick was only 27th, with Danica Patrick (who crashed her primary car just three minutes into morning practice, and took Parker Kligerman with her) down in 36th and Tony Stewart 38th.

Two of this year’s three winners so far failed to make the pole session. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the sole Hendrick man to miss the cut in 14th.

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                 Time     Gap
 1.  Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota         14.761s
 2.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford              14.764s  +0.003s
 3.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota         14.866s  +0.105s
 4.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford              14.894s  +0.133s
 5.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford               14.906s  +0.145s
 6.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet       14.962s  +0.201s
 7.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota         14.972s  +0.211s
 8.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford        14.997s  +0.236s
 9.  Ryan Newman         Childress Chevrolet      15.014s  +0.253s
10.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet       15.027s  +0.266s
11.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet       15.063s  +0.302s
12.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford        15.100s  +0.339s
13.  Kurt Busch          Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   14.953s  Q1
14.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet       14.959s  Q1
15.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota           14.962s  Q1
16.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford           14.963s  Q1
17.  Jamie McMurray      Ganassi Chevrolet        14.971s  Q1
18.  Cole Whitt          Swan Toyota              14.999s  Q1
19.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford           15.002s  Q1
20.  Kyle Larson         Ganassi Chevrolet        15.015s  Q1
21.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford        15.028s  Q1
22.  AJ Allmendinger     JTG Daugherty Chevrolet  15.032s  Q1
23.  Michael McDowell    Leavine Ford             15.037s  Q1
24.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford               15.037s  Q1
25.  Casey Mears         Germain Chevrolet        15.038s  Q1
26.  Austin Dillon       Childress Chevrolet      15.046s  Q1
27.  Kevin Harvick       Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   15.056s  Q1
28.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet      15.057s  Q1
29.  Martin Truex Jr     Furniture Row Chevrolet  15.067s  Q1
30.  Justin Allgaier     HScott Chevrolet         15.068s  Q1
31.  Landon Cassill      Hillman Chevrolet        15.087s  Q1
32.  Josh Wise           Parsons Ford             15.088s  Q1
33.  Alex Bowman         BK Toyota                15.089s  Q1
34.  Michael Annett      Baldwin Chevrolet        15.121s  Q1
35.  Reed Sorenson       Baldwin Chevrolet        15.151s  Q1
36.  Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   15.153s  Q1
37.  David Reutimann     Front Row Ford           15.154s  Q1
38.  Tony Stewart        Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   15.163s  Q1
39.  Brian Vickers       Waltrip Toyota           15.175s  Q1
40.  Travis Kvapil       Go FAS Ford              15.192s  Q1
41.  Ryan Truex          BK Toyota                15.306s  Q1
42.  Dave Blaney         Humphrey Toyota          15.330s  Q1
43.  Parker Kligerman    Swan Toyota              15.417s  Q1
44.  Joe Nemechek        Waltrip Toyota           15.659s  Q1
45.  Timmy Hill          Circle Sport chevrolet   15.717s  Q1

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