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Denny Hamlin Grabs Third Career Pocono Pole

Denny Hamlin Grabs Third Career Pocono Pole

by June 6, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images

LONG POND, Pa. — With a lap of 49.610 seconds, Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing) was able to take the pole position for Sunday’s Pocono 400 at the Pocono Raceway.

Hamlin set a new track record for the 2.5-mile triangle with his lap and claimed his first Pocono pole since sweeping the poles for both 2006 races. Hamlin and the No. 11 FedEx team also earned their second pole of the season at Pocono. Hamlin’s two former race victories at Pocono botch came after he qualified on the pole for the race.

Joining Hamlin on the front row will be the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet of Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing.) Busch was able to earn his first top-five starting position of the year for his team and also secured his first front-row starting position since last year’s Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami. Two of Busch’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammates were also able to advance to the final round of qualifying; Kevin Harvick will start behind Busch in the fourth position while Tony Stewart will start from 12th.

Brad Keselowski (Team Penske) grabbed the first spot on Row 2, turning in another strong qualifying performance for Team Penske. Keselowski’s third-place effort is his 10th top-three qualifying performance this year. Keselowski’s teammate Joey Logano would also run a quick qualifying lap in the final session, qualifying seventh.

Brian Vickers (Michael Waltrip Racing) was unable to replicate his first practice speed in qualifying as he would qualify half a second off of Hamlin’s pace. Vickers will start from the ninth position on Sunday.

If Jimmie Johnson is to go for his third consecutive race win, he’s going to have to do it from a 20th-place starting spot. The furthest Johnson has come to win at Pocono was from 14th-place in August of 2004. A win from outside of the top-20 is not impossible though as Jeff Gordon (Hendrick Motorsports) and Carl Edwards (Roush-Fenway Racing) have won at Pocono from outside of the top-20 before.

Top-10 Qualifiers for the Pocono 400

  1. 11 – Denny Hamlin – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing – 49.610 seconds | Leader
  2. 41 – Kurt Busch – Chevrolet – Stewart-Haas Racing – 49.612 seconds | -0.002
  3. 2 – Brad Keselowski – Ford – Team Penske – 49.637 seconds | -0.027
  4. 4 – Kevin Harvick – Chevrolet – Stewart-Haas Racing – 49.770 seconds | -0.160
  5. 24 – Jeff Gordon – Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports – 49.858 seconds | -0.248
  6. 18 – Kyle Busch – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing – 49.873 seconds | -0.263
  7. 22 – Joey Logano – Ford – Team Penske – 50.048 seconds | -0.438
  8. 88 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports – 50.121 seconds | -0.511
  9. 55 – Brian Vickers – Toyota – Michael Waltrip Racing – 50.126 seconds | -0.516
  10. 99 – Carl Edwards – Ford – Roush-Fenway Racing – 50.172 seconds | -0.562

 

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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