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Hamlin's 'FedEx car' wins pole for 'FedEx 400'

NASCAR Sprint cup
Friday, May 31, 2013

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Denny Hamlin
A broken back hasn't slowed Denny Hamlin down, as his competitors in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series learned once again during Friday's qualifying session for Sunday's FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway.
 
Sidelined for five weeks after suffering a compression fracture of his first lumbar vertebra in a last-lap crash at Fontana, Calif., in late March, Hamlin won his second straight pole of the season, his second straight at Dover and the 15th of his career.

Hamlin claimed the Coors Light Pole Award with a lap at 157.978 mph (22.788 seconds) at the one-mile concrete track that had given him fits until he qualified first and finished eighth in last September's Chase race at the Monster Mile.
 
When Hamlin climbed from his car after the run, he indicated he would be happy with a starting spot in the top 10, but his time stood up to all challengers.
 
"I thought that all the strong cars were later in the field," explained Hamlin, who was the 19th of 43 drivers to attempt qualifying. "Especially the last two (Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch) were very strong. When I ran the lap, I wasn't in love with it. Fundamentally, I didn't do that great of a job, but I knew the track conditions were really bad.
 
"We were sixth in practice, and we were only a tenth (of a second) off of what we ran in practice (in cooler conditions). In the back of my mind, I'm preparing for the worst, hoping for the best."
 
Martin Truex Jr. (157.798 mph) qualified second, followed by Busch (157.756 mph), Matt Kenseth (157.736 mph) and Ryan Newman (157.715 mph).
 
Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Jamie McMurray nailed down starting positions six through 10, respectively.
 
Kenseth, a three-time winner in the series year and Hamlin's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, joked that the driver of the No. 11 Toyota was making things tough on his fellow drivers since his return.
 
"I don't know why Denny has to come back and show off all the time right away," quipped Kenseth, who felt he got everything he could out of his car on the qualifying lap.
 
In a season where track records have fallen on a regular basis with NASCAR's new Gen-6 car, no driver in Friday's time trials came close to Jeremy Mayfield's 2004 mark of 161.522 mph. That was no surprise, given the hot, slick conditions that confronted the field during qualifying.
 
But Joe Gibbs Racing, the pre-eminent organization in Cup racing with five victories so far this year, owned three of the top four starting spots, as Toyota drivers swept the top four positions on the grid for Sunday's race.
 
Seven-time Dover winner and Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson got sideways off Turn 4 on his money lap and qualified 24th at 155.206 mph. Johnson needs a victory on Sunday to break a tie with Richard Petty and Bobby Allison for most career wins at the Monster Mile.

Results

Pos Driver Car Make Sponsor Speed Time Behind
1 Denny Hamlin 11 Toyota FedEx Freight / Autism Speaks 157.978 22.788 Leader
2 Martin Truex Jr 56 Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 157.798 22.814 -0.026
3 Kyle Busch 18 Toyota M&M's 157.756 22.820 -0.032
4 Matt Kenseth 20 Toyota Dollar General 157.736 22.823 -0.035
5 Ryan Newman 39 Chevrolet Haas Automation 157.715 22.826 -0.038
6 Mark Martin 55 Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 157.604 22.842 -0.054
7 Kevin Harvick 29 Chevrolet Jimmy John's 157.549 22.850 -0.062
8 Brad Keselowski 2 Ford Miller Lite 157.480 22.860 -0.072
9 Joey Logano 22 Ford Shell-Pennzoil 157.460 22.863 -0.075
10 Jamie McMurray 1 Chevrolet Parade Media Group 157.405 22.871 -0.083
11 Kasey Kahne 5 Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 157.350 22.879 -0.091
12 Dale Earnhardt Jr 88 Chevrolet National Guard 157.240 22.895 -0.107
13 Kurt Busch 78 Chevrolet Furniture Row / Sealy 157.054 22.922 -0.134
14 Juan Pablo Montoya 42 Chevrolet Energizer 156.713 22.972 -0.184
15 Clint Bowyer 15 Toyota 5-Hour Energy 156.556 22.995 -0.207
16 Paul Menard 27 Chevrolet Menards / Libman 156.175 23.051 -0.263
17 Casey Mears 13 Ford GEICO 156.169 23.052 -0.264
18 Carl Edwards 99 Ford Subway 156.054 23.069 -0.281
19 Greg Biffle 16 Ford Rite Aid / Ace 155.952 23.084 -0.296
20 Jeff Gordon 24 Chevrolet AARP Credit Cards from Chase 155.696 23.122 -0.334
21 Landon Cassill 33 Chevrolet Bicycle NASCAR Playing Cards 155.440 23.160 -0.372
22 Tony Stewart 14 Chevrolet Code 3 Associates / Mobil 1 155.407 23.165 -0.377
23 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 17 Ford Best Buy 155.239 23.190 -0.402
24 Jimmie Johnson 48 Chevrolet Lowe's / Monsters University 155.206 23.195 -0.407
25 Austin Dillon 51 Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 155.146 23.204 -0.416
26 Bobby Labonte 47 Toyota Scott Products 155.086 23.213 -0.425
27 David Reutimann 83 Toyota Burger King / Dr. Pepper 155.059 23.217 -0.429
28 David Gilliland 38 Ford Long John Silver's 154.972 23.230 -0.442
29 Jeff Burton 31 Chevrolet Cheerios 154.679 23.274 -0.486
30 Marcos Ambrose 9 Ford DeWalt / ACE / CMN 154.619 23.283 -0.495
31 Michael McDowell 98 Ford Phil Parsons Racing 154.573 23.290 -0.502
32 Mike Bliss 19 Chevrolet Plinker Tactical 154.500 23.301 -0.513
33 Aric Almirola 43 Ford Smithfield 154.480 23.304 -0.516
34 David Stremme 30 Toyota Widow Wax 154.295 23.332 -0.544
35 David Ragan 34 Ford TBA 153.984 23.379 -0.591
36 Joe Nemechek 87 Toyota Royal Teak 153.636 23.432 -0.644
37 Dave Blaney 7 Chevrolet Sany 153.557 23.444 -0.656
38 Travis Kvapil 93 Toyota Burger King / Dr. Pepper 153.492 23.454 -0.666
39 Danica Patrick 10 Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 153.381 23.471 -0.683
40 J.J. Yeley 36 Chevrolet DOHS Click it or Ticket 152.892 23.546 -0.758
41 Josh Wise 35 Ford MDS Transport 152.355 23.629 -0.841
42 Timmy Hill 32 Ford OXY Water 150.912 23.855 -1.067
43 Scott Riggs 44 Ford No Label Watches 150.710 23.887 -1.099

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