Denny Hamlin sweeps qualifying to capture Busch Pole Award at Michigan

Denny Hamlin led all rounds of qualifying Friday evening at Michigan International Speedway to score his 28th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole and his first at the 2-mile track.

He posted a final-round lap speed of 202.794 mph in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and will lead the field to green in Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400. Teammate Kyle Busch will join Hamlin on the front row, qualifying second with a 202.731 lap in his No. 18 Toyota.

This was the second time Hamlin and Busch have started 1-2 mirroring last week’s front row at Watkins Glen International.

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“We’re starting to see results,” Hamlin said. “I mean you can definitely see that we’re gaining speed, gaining momentum, very optimistic about this week. You know this is a racetrack that we’ve had success at before. We’ve never qualified on the pole here before but we have a car that has been driving good all day and if we can duplicate that and have it driving the same in race trim it should be a great day for us.”

Busch described his qualifying effort, saying, “I thought 3 and 4 went OK. Certainly, I don’t think it was my best time through there. The first couple of runs, we’d been fighting ‘loose,’ so you kind of drive a little differently to be ready for the loose situation, and then on the final run, we were tight.”

“You guard your entry or guard your center or whatever you do for the loose, and that doesn’t happen, and you’re tight, and then you’re too tight because you guarded for the loose. Just ever so slightly just missed it, I guess. Overall, I didn’t think we were going to qualify there, so we’re certainly pleased with that.”

Kevin Harvick qualified third followed by Erik Jones in fourth. Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman will start fifth and sixth while Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano and Alex Bowman round out the top 10.

Bowman was the only Hendrick Motorsports driver to advance to the final round. Teammates, Jimmie Johnson, William Byron and Chase Elliott will start 19th, 20th, and 21st, respectively.

Daniel Suarez, who was third fastest in the first Cup Series practice, was unable to post a time after getting loose in the first round of qualifying in Turn 2 and hitting the outside wall. He will start from the back of the field Sunday.

“We were loose in practice and then it was a little bit tight and I told my guys that I wanted the front to work a little bit better and we just crossed the line,” Suarez said. “We were fast and when we have moments like that, it’s very hard to catch the car. I felt like I actually caught the car, but then once I got to the grey, it was like being on ice. We’re fortunate, the car is still very fast and the car is not too bad. We just have to fix it and hopefully, tomorrow come back for practice and get ready for the race.”

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Starting Lineup for the Consumers Energy 400

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Erik Jones
  5. Austin Dillon
  6. Ryan Newman
  7. Martin Truex Jr.
  8. Ryan Blaney
  9. Joey Logano
  10. Alex Bowman
  11. Aric Almirola
  12. Kurt Busch
  13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  14. Paul Menard
  15. Jamie McMurray
  16. Clint Bowyer
  17. Kyle Larson
  18. Brad Keselowski
  19. Jimmie Johnson
  20. William Byron
  21. Chase Elliott
  22. Bubba Wallace
  23. Chris Buescher
  24. David Ragan
  25. AJ Allmendinger
  26. Trevor Bayne
  27. Ty Dillon
  28. Kasey Kahne
  29. Michael McDowell
  30. Matt DiBenedetto
  31. Landon Cassill
  32. Corey LaJoie
  33. BJ McLeod
  34. Gray Gaulding
  35. Reed Sorenson
  36. Garrett Smithley
  37. Timmy Hill
  38. Jeffrey Earnhardt
  39. Blake Jones
  40. Daniel Suarez











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