Hamlin wins pole in 500th start at Dover

It has been a special weekend for Denny Hamlin and his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team. Hamlin is making his 500th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway. It will be even more memorable for Hamlin as he set a new track record with a time of 21.55.

“No, not pole-winning, but definitely a race-winning car,” Hamlin said to MRN Radio. “I felt like if we did everything right and we have a good starting spot, going to have good advantage there on pit road. Really happy for the guys. To have that quick of a lap here in this type of format, where stage points are going to be very important is really good for us. We’re proud of it and this is a lot of hard work that went into this.”

It was Hamlin’s first pole of the 2019 season and the 31st of his career.

Kyle Larson qualified on the outside pole, Martin Truex Jr. was third, Kevin Harvick was fourth, Chase Elliott qualified fifth, William Byron will start sixth, Aric Almirola will start seventh, Erik Jones in eighth, Kurt Busch in ninth and Ryan Blaney rounds out the top-10 qualifiers for Sunday’s Drydene 400.

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Hamlin has yet to win at Dover International Speedway and seeks his first victory in Sunday’s race.

“You’re going to have to keep up with the racetrack,” Hamlin added to MRN Radio. “I think the racetrack is going to change dramatically after the first or second stage. I’m just going to try and wheel it the best I can, give the best information I can. Obviously, the car will be right there for me. Our teammates are really special around this track and spent a lot of time this week studying them.”

Sunday’s race will begin the next round of the playoffs with the Round of 12. The Round of 12 will take place over the next three races at Dover, then on to Talladega and Kansas will be the cut-off race before the Round of 8 begins.

Official Qualifying Results

  1. Denny Hamlin, making 500th start, Playoff driver
  2. Kyle Larson, fastest in final practice, Playoff driver
  3. Martin Truex Jr., Playoff driver
  4. Kevin Harvick, fastest in first practice, Playoff driver
  5. Chase Elliott, won last years fall race, Playoff driver
  6. William Byron, Playoff driver
  7. Aric Almirola
  8. Erik Jones
  9. Kurt Busch
  10. Ryan Blaney, Playoff driver
  11. Jimmie Johnson
  12. Alex Bowman, Playoff driver
  13. Paul Menard
  14. Joey Logano, Playoff driver
  15. Daniel Suarez
  16. Brad Keselowski, Playoff driver
  17. Clint Bowyer, Playoff driver
  18. Kyle Busch, Playoff driver
  19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  20. Matt DiBenedetto
  21. David Ragan
  22. Chris Buescher
  23. Matt Tifft
  24. Ryan Newman
  25. Ty Dillon
  26. Bubba Wallace
  27. Austin Dillon
  28. Michael McDowell
  29. Corey LaJoie
  30. Landon Cassill
  31. Daniel Hemric
  32. Ryan Preece
  33. B.J. McLeod
  34. Ross Chastain
  35. J.J. Yeley
  36. Joe Nemechek
  37. Garrett Smithley
  38. Reed Sorenson

The Drydene 400 can be seen live on NBCSN with NASCAR America at 1:30 p.m. ET followed by Countdown to Green at 2 p.m. ET. The green flag is scheduled to fly shortly after 2:30 p.m. ET.

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