Denny Hamlin wins Cup pole at Michigan

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Denny Hamlin swept all three rounds of Cup qualifying Friday to win the pole at Michigan International Speedway with a lap of 202.794 mph.

It is Hamlin’s second pole of the season and 28th of his career. He also won the pole last weekend at Watkins Glen. This is his first pole at Michigan.

“I honestly wasn’t that confident,” Hamlin told NBCSN if he though his lap in the final round was good enough to win the pole. “I didn’t get all of it … but the team definitely gave me a great driving car. We got faster every run on the race track today. These guys are really stepping up and we’re starting to make a little hay now.”

Hamlin will be joined by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch (202.731 mph) on the front row. Hamlin beat Busch by 11-thousandths of a second. Kevin Harvick (202.100) will start third. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones (201.805) qualified fourth.

Richard Childress Racing teammates Austin Dillon (201.748) and Ryan Newman (201.658) will start fifth and sixth respectively. Dillon tied his best qualifying effort of the season. He qualified fifth at Auto Club Speedway in March.

Seventeen drivers topped 200 mph in qualifying.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the first driver outside a playoff spot, qualified 13th. Clint Bowyer, who won June’s rain-shortened race, qualified 16th. Watkins Glen winner Chase Elliott qualified 21st.

Daniel Suarez crashed early in the first round of qualifying. He bounced off the wall exiting Turn 2.

“Sorry guys,” Suarez radioed his team.

“I got loose,” Suarez told NBCSN. “In practice my car was very, very fast but it was a little bit tight so I said to my guys, hey, we have to make the front work a little bit better. We just crossed the line.”

As for starting at the rear?

“I think we’re going to see the 19 … passing a lot of cars Sunday.”