Hamlin Perfect At Pocono

LONG POND, Pa. - Denny Hamlin is looking to go undefeated at Pocono Raceway in 2006 and he took a big step toward accomplishing that goal by winning the pole Friday in qualifying for the Pennsylvania 500 with a lap of 169.827 mph.

The rookie driver, who won the Pocono 500 back in June, scored his third career pole on Friday. Hamlin will look for his second win on Sunday in his 22nd career NEXTEL Cup start as he tries to be the first driver since Jimmie Johnson in 2004 to sweep Pocono in a season.

"Well, our car was really good today in practice for sure," Hamlin said. "When we did our mock qualifying run in June, I think we were in the mid 20s or so. I just went out there and made, you know, a crazy lap or something like that."

Hamlin's lap knocked Ryan Newman off the top spot. The Penske South driver was looking for his second straight pole but will line-up outside the front row on Sunday.

"If we can make one lap, we can put them together and make 200 here," Newman said. "It's just a matter of getting things right."

Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers will start in the second row with Jeff Gordon fifth, coming back to Pocono after his day ended in back in June with a hard crash into the first turn wall.

Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Scott Riggs and Joe Nemechek rounded out the top 10.

Four drivers failed to qualify for the race: Derrike Cope, Greg Sacks, Stanton Barrett and Chad Chaffin.

Chaffin, who originally qualified for the race, had his time disallowed in post time trials inspection. The penalty gave his starting slot to Jimmy Spencer.

Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 will take the green flag at 2:10 p.m. (ET).


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