Denny Hamlin wins pole for Watkins Glen Cup race

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Denny Hamlin claimed the pole for Sunday’s Cup race at Watkins Glen International (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC), putting down a speed of 125.534 mph.

The pole and lineup will not be made official until after post-qualifying inspection is complete Sunday morning.

It would be Hamlin’s first pole of the season and his first since last year’s finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It’s his first road course pole.

The top five was complete by Kyle Busch (125.427 mph), Chase Elliott (125.421), Martin Truex Jr. (125.252) and Kyle Larson (124.775).

“It was good, definitely wasn’t perfect by any means,” Hamlin told NBCSN of his pole run. “I was really conservative the first couple of runs through (Turns) 6 and 7. That looked like where I was getting beat the most. Knowing you’re going to qualify 12th at worst, you push it in those areas.”

Kyle Busch will start on the front row for the fifth time at WGI.

With his fifth-place start, Larson has an average start on road courses of fifth. His average finish is 18th.

Aric Almirola qualified seventh, a career-best on road courses.

Jimmie Johnson qualified 13th, followed by Paul Menard, Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, William Byron, Brad Keselowski and Clint Bowyer.

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