Denny Hamlin wins Sprint Cup Series pole at Richmond

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Virginia native Denny Hamlin won the pole for Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 with a lap of 122.344 mph.

It was Hamlin’s first pole of the season and the 24th of his career. A two-time winner at Richmond International Raceway, Hamlin last went to victory lane at his home track in September 2010.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver will lead the field to the green flag with Kyle Larson, who qualified second at 122.288 mph. Matt Kenseth (122.244 mph), Jamie McMurray (122.189 mph), and Kurt Busch (122.144 mph) rounded out the top five.

Kenseth is the defending race winner at Richmond.

“We had more laps on our tires, the balance was off, everything was terrible, and still that’s awesome,” Hamlin told NBCSN. “I don’t know, 22 or 23 straight weeks of qualifying in the top 10 and not being able to get a pole. This is unbelievable to finally get it under these circumstances. Very unexpected but proud of this whole FedEx Ground Camry team, giving me a good car and giving us something hopefully we can win with (Saturday) night.”

Richmond is the last race to qualify for the Chase.

Ryan Newman, who is the first driver out of a transfer spot qualified 15th. Chris Buescher, who is looking to lock up a spot in the top 30 in points to qualify courtesy of his Pocono win, will start 31st.

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