Concord, NC (Sports Network) - Denny Hamlin easily broke the track qualifying
record at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday night to earn the pole for
Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 -- the longest race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Hamlin, who was the 39th driver in the 44-car qualifying order, turned a lap
at a blistering 195.624 mph. It marked the 14th career Sprint Cup pole for the
Joe Gibbs Racing driver, including his second of the season and his first at
Hamlin's first pole this season came in March at Auto Club Speedway in
Fontana, Calif. He suffered a compression fracture in his lower back during an
accident on the final lap at Fontana and ended up missing the next four races
-- Martinsville, Texas, Kansas and Richmond. Hamlin returned to his No. 11 JGR
Toyota earlier this month at Darlington, where he finished second to teammate
The top-eight finishers in qualifying surpassed the previous track record of
193.708 mph, set by Greg Biffle last October.
Kurt Busch continued his hot streak in qualifying by claiming the outside pole
with a lap at 195.221 mph. Busch won the pole at Darlington and qualified
second for last weekend's all-star race at Charlotte.
Kenseth secured the third starting position, followed by Mark Martin and Clint
Kasey Kahne, the defending race winner, Biffle, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray and
Ryan Newman finished sixth through 10th, respectively, in qualifying.
Jimmie Johnson, who won the all-star race for a record fourth time, will start
12th in the 600-miler, one spot behind his teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Danica Patrick qualified 24th.
The Sports Network