This is Hamlin’s second consecutive Miami pole and third in the last four years. Last year he finished ninth. He finished 10th in 2015 after also starting on the pole.
“It’s big for us to get this race team up front,” Hamlin told Marty Snider on NBCSN after the session. “We definitely want to end on a high note. (In) 2013 we were in the same predicament and hadn’t won a race until the final race. Hopefully it’s our time to do it.”
This is Hamlin’s last opportunity to extend a streak of winning at least one race per season to 13 consecutive years.
“It’s just emotion and we’re good friends,” Hamlin responded when asked about the pending split with crew chief Mike Wheeler.
Busch (173.622 mph) held on for second to be the highest qualifier among the playoff contenders.
Kevin Harvick (171.942) complained of a tight condition on his first lap in the final round of qualification. He made another lap at the end of the session, but was not able to improve his time and qualified 12th – the worst among playoff contenders.