NASCAR Cup: Denny Hamlin claims first 2016 pole in home state
Denny Hamlin wins the pole for the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 9, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)
By AMANDA VINCENT
Denny Hamlin claimed a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole in his home state of Virginia on Friday when he posted a 22.069-second/122.344 mph lap in the third of three rounds of qualifying at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway for Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400. The pole was the third of his career at RIR, but it was the perennial top-10 starter’s first pole of the 2016 season.
“I’m proud of this whole FedEx Ground team,” Hamlin said. “This is a great kick for us. We’ve qualified in the top-10, I think, 23 or 24-straight weeks, and to be able to finally get a pole is a great feeling.”
Kyle Larson will start second, next to Hamlin on the front row.
“We made one mock run there in practice and ran really well,” Larson said. “I was hoping for a good qualifying effort once I did get to qualifying. I knew the track would be quite a bit faster with the sun starting to go down and it getting cooler outside. I didn’t know if we would be as good as we were in practice, but thankfully enough, our Target Chevy had good speed, there, in qualifying and was able to have a good three rounds.”
Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray were third and fourth-fastest in round three to claim second-row spots on the starting grid.
Kurt Busch was the fastest in both the first and second rounds of qualifying on Friday, and his 21.808-second/123.808 mph lap in the opening round was the fastest lap, overall, of the qualifying session. He wound up fifth in round three, through.
Here’s a look at the complete starting grid for Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway:
Row 1 — Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota), Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet)
Row 2 — Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 3 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Chevrolet), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota)
Row 4 — Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet)
Row 5 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
Row 6 — Jeff Gordon (No. 88 Chevrolet — sub for Dale Earnhardt Jr.), Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)
Row 7 — Carl Edwards (No. 19 Toyota), Tony Stewart (No. 14 Chevrolet)
Row 8 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford), Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford)
Row 10 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Chevrolet), Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford)
Row 11 — David Ragan (No. 23 Toyota), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 12 — Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford), Regan Smith (No. 7 Chevrolet)
Row 13 — Matt DiBenedetto (No. 93 Toyota), Casey Mears (No. 13 Chevrolet)
Row 14 — Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet), Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford)
Row 15 — Danica Patrick (No. 10 Chevrolet), Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)
Row 16 — Chris Buescher (No. 34 Ford), Landon Cassill (No. 38 Ford)
Row 17 — Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Chevrolet), Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet)
Row 18 — Brian Scott (No. 44 Ford), Josh Wise (No. 30 Chevrolet)
Row 19 — Michael Annett (No. 46 Chevrolet), Reed Sorenson (No. 55 Chevrolet)
Row 20 — Dylan Lupton (No. 83 Toyota), Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 32 Ford)
DNQ (did not qualify) — Cole Whitt