Share This Post


NASCAR Cup: Denny Hamlin leads Toyota brigade in Coca-Cola 600 qualifying

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA – MAY 28: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, poses for photos after winning the pole award during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 28, 2022 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)


Denny Hamlin led a Toyota domination of NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Saturday. With a 29.399-second/183.680 mph lap in the second of two rounds of qualifying, Hamlin claimed the pole for Subday’s Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR’s version of an endurance race.

“It’s been really a great day, and the end result was probably the perfect scenario for me to have an ideal day,” Hamlin said. “Our car’s been good; it’s been good off the truck, and we just continue to tune on it quite a bit and, then, just kind of thought that, once this thing got into the night, that you would want to run the low line through three and four, so I just continued to get as many reps as I could doing that, and it looked like that was kind of the difference maker in the lap itself. Happy about it. You talk about the long relationship I’ve had with Coca Cola that I’ve had for 17 or 18 years now, being part of the Coke family, and not winning this race has been pretty frustrating. Certainly, in the resume column, this is at the top of the list, by far, and the team knows how badly I want it. Anytime we can start with a head start on the field like we will on Sunday, that’s a good thing.”

Toyota drivers claimed the top-four positions on the 600 starting grid with Kurt Busch on the front row alongside Hamlin and Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Christopher Bell and Kyle Busch in row two.

“I think the Toyotas have really shown great speed on the mile-and-a-halves all year, and it really started at Las Vegas early in the year,” Hamlin said. “We were all really four or five of the best cars at that track. Really that trend has continued at most of the mile-and-a-halves. We still have some work to do at the other tracks, but it’s very encouraging that this is the bulk of our schedule to be running well at these types of tracks. To see all the Toyotas up front and haven’t had the top-four in qualifying since 2017, that’s a really cool thing. To have my little part in that on the ownership side is really cool.”

William Byron qualified fifth.

Hamlin advanced to the final round of qualifying after posting the second-fastest lap in round one among drivers in group A. Kurt Busch led group A with a 29.459-second/183.306 mph lap.

The Busch brothers led the opening round of qualifying. After Kurt Busch recorded the fastest lap among group A drivers, his younger brother Kyle Busch led group B with a 29.452-second/183.349 mph lap.

Like in group A, group B saw two Toyota’s atop the speed chart with Christopher Bell second to Kyle Busch in the second group.

Other drivers advancing to the final round and qualifying in the top-10 included Austin Cindric in sixth, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. in seventh, Tyler Reddick eighth, Alex Bowman ninth and Michael McDowell in 10th.

Reigning Cup Series champion and reigning Coca-Cola 600 winner Kyle Larson didn’t make a qualifying attempt after crashing in the practice session that immediately preceded qualifying. As a result, he’ll start in the back, along with Corey LaJoie, who also wrecked in practice, and Brad Keselowski, who made a qualifying attempt but spun on his lap.

Below, is the starting grid for the Coca-Cola 600:

Share This Post

Posted by on May 29, 2022. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.