Hamlin Wins Pole at Auto Club

Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin captured his 10th career pole award on Friday. (Photo: Getty Images)


Denny Hamlin turned in a lap time of 38.626 seconds at 186.403 mph to win the pole position for Sunday's Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

Hamlin turned a lap just fast enough to edge his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch for the top spot.

"It was really a good day all around for us,” said Hamlin. “We were fast in practice. I knew we once we got to qualifying, we would pretty good.

"This was good for one lap, we'll start working now on getting it right for 400 miles on Sunday."

The day ended well for Hamlin with the top spot and turned around what has started off to be a rocky trip to southern California. Hamlin’s plane experienced trouble flying from Charlotte to Fontana and was forced to turn back to North Carolina. After repairs, Hamlin was able to make the trek West and shrugged off the situation as no big deal.

"Basically, it was just an exhaust duct issue. Nothing major, just normal people have it all the time," Hamlin said. "You just don't usually really hear about it."

It was Hamlin’s 10th-career pole with his last coming at Martinsville in October of 2010.

Mark Martin qualified third in the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 to give Toyota a sweep of the first three starting spots in Sunday’s fifth race of the Sprint Cup Series season.

Series point leader Greg Biffle and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top five.

"We’ve got a really, really fast car, so that’s good,” said Biffle. “That will be good. I’ve got a lot of confidence going into the race this weekend with a car we know is faster than what it qualified already, so we’re pretty happy."

Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson completed the first 10 qualifiers.

Robby Gordon, Timmy Hill and Joe Nemechek failed to qualify for the race. It was the first time Nemechek has missed a field in 41 races.

Sprint Cup Series teams will have two practice sessions on Saturday.

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