Denny Hamlin wins pole for Bank of America 500

1 Comment

CONCORD, North Carolina — Denny Hamlin won the pole for Sunday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Hamlin won his first pole of the year and his first since the 2016 regular-season finale with a speed of 191.598 mph.

He will be joined one the front row by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth (191.489).

It is Hamlin’s 25th Cup pole.

“You always like keeping streaks alive and I hadn’t had a pole this year,” Hamlin told NBCSN. “Had one every other year (except 2011) . It’s good. We’ve been so close and we’ve made so many final rounds, been in the top five but not as fast as our other teammates. Today we adjusted on it, got it a little bit better each round and had some good results.”

Completing the top five for Sunday’s race (2 p.m. ET on NBC) are Kevin Harvick (191.394), Kyle Busch (190.941) and Clint Bowyer (190.584).

Brad Keselowski (sixth), Chase Elliott (seventh) and Kyle Larson (10th) are the other playoffs drivers who will start in the top 10.

Danica Patrick qualified 12th. It is the fourth time she has qualified in the top 12 this year (Daytona 500, Sonoma, Daytona II).

Four playoff drivers only made it to the second round: Ryan Blaney (15th), Martin Truex Jr. (17th), Jamie McMurray (18th) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (22nd).

Truex’s start is his worst since he started 25th at Daytona in July.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 23rd in his final Cup start at Charlotte. In the first round Earnhardt knocked teammate Jimmie Johnson out of the top 24. The eight-time winner at Charlotte will start 25th.

“Multiple trips through the inspection line doesn’t help by any stretch,” Johnson told NBCSN. “We just missed it. Another frustrating Friday, unfortunately. … It sucks getting behind, starting the weekend behind like this. It is what it is and we’re going to have to go to work on Sunday.”

Johnson is the only playoff driver who will start outside the top 24.

Erik Jones was unable to make a qualifying lap after his No. 77 Toyota made it through inspection but not in time for him to get on track. He will start 38th Sunday. BK Racing’s two entries of Brett Moffitt and Corey LaJoie also did not make qualifying runs.

Click here for the full qualifying results.