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NASCAR Cup: Denny Hamlin on pole at Michigan International Speedway

BROOKLYN, MI – AUGUST 10: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, poses with the pole award after qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Consmers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 10, 2018 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Denny Hamlin claimed the pole for Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn with a 35.504-second/202.794 mph lap in the third of three rounds of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying Friday. It’s Hamlin’s second-consecutive Cup Series pole and the third-straight for Joe Gibbs Racing.

“I actually wasn’t that confident,” Hamlin said. “I didn’t get all of it, for sure, but the team gave me a great driving car and one that was just easily and consistently able to back up times, and time after time, we got faster on the race track today. Proud of this whole FedEx Toyota team. These guys are really stepping up and we’re starting to make a little hay now.”

Hamlin’s third-round lap of record bettered that of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch by 0.011 seconds. Busch qualified second to give JGR a front-row sweep.

“This has always been a tricky place for me to be able to find the right setup and get it to where we need it,” Busch said. “We did the same thing there again in qualifying as we typically do here. We’re behind it seems when we go out there for the first run, but then, we make adjustments to it each and every run, and we get better to have a shot or get closer to the front, at least. Just missed it a little bit here today to be able to get that number one spot and that number one pit stop, because that’s really important here at Michigan. We’ll see how Sunday goes, but typically, I wouldn’t say that Michigan is one of our best places.”

Three of the four Joe Gibbs Racing teams qualified in the top-five, with Erik Jones taking fourth. Other top-five qualifiers were Kevin Harvick and Austin Dillon in third and fifth, respectively.

Hamlin was tops throughout the day Friday. After running the fastest lap in Friday’s lone practice session, he was fastest in all three rounds of qualifying. He posted a 35.604-second/202.224 mph lap in the second round and opened the qualifying session with a 35.717-second/201.590 mph lap in round one.

Meanwhile, a fourth JGR driver, Daniel Suarez, struggled, getting into the wall in the opening round. Suarez wound up without a lap of record, so he’ll start 40th Sunday.

Below, is the complete starting grid for the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway:

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Posted by on August 11, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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