Denny Hamlin wrapped up the Round of 12 the best way possible — with a win last Sunday at Kansas.
He kicked off the Round of 8 Saturday with another big step, earning the pole for Sunday’s First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway. It was the Chesterfield, Virginia, native’s fourth career pole at the 0.526-mile bullring.
But he has bigger plans: His sixth win at the track would clinch a berth in the Nov. 17 championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“I hope so,” Hamlin said when asked if it is shaping up to be his weekend. “All signs indicate yes if you were looking in a Magic 8-Ball right now. Our car was good in practice. It was good in qualifying obviously. That’s all we have to go by.”
Martin Truex Jr. will start alongside Hamlin on the front row for Sunday’s race. Chase Elliott qualified second, but he will start from the rear of the field due to an engine change earlier in the day.
Row 2 will have Aric Almirola alongside Michael McDowell, Row 3 will have Ryan Blaney and Clint Bowyer, Row 4 will have Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez and Row 5 will have last fall’s race winner Joey Logano and William Byron.