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NASCAR Cup: Denny Hamlin sets qualifying record at Dover

DOVER, DELAWARE – OCTOBER 05: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, poses with the pole award after qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway on October 05, 2019 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Denny Hamlin set a new track qualifying record at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on Saturday with a 21.559-second/166.984 mph pole during Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying to claim the pole for Sunday’s Drydene 400, the first race of the second round of the 2019 iCup Series playoffs. The pole is his second of the season but the fourth of his career at Dover.

Kyle Larson qualified second with a lap that clocked in just 0.003 seconds slower than Hamlin’s.

“I felt like I ran a good lap,” Larson said. “Based on the data, it looked like I gave up a little bit off of turn four. I feel like I got there pretty good, but three-thousandths of a second when you’re going that fast isn’t much. I wish I was on the pole. I told Denny a few days ago that I was going to get the pole, so having him be just a little bit quicker then me is frustrating. But we’ll start on the front row here, and we have a good race team. Qualifying here is so much fun, especially when it’s cooler like this. We’re not all the way out of the gas, ever, so that was a lot of fun, a lot of fun.”

Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick claimed second-row spots on the starting grid. The top four qualifiers all surpassed the old track record attained by Chase Elliott earlier this season. The previous record holder qualified fifth.

Hamlin held the provisional pole through most of the 38-car qualifying session, going out seventh for his attempt.

“Going out early was a benefit for us, and we just optimized it,” Hamlin said. “The track temperature stayed pretty consistent through, but certainly didn’t think we were going to run 23.50 by any means. Proud to have that kind of effort with this team, and our car has, obviously, been very good. This weekend, I’ve been very comfortable with it. The speed definitely caught us off guard, but it’s a great thing for us. We can take every advantage that we can at this race track. It’s been pretty tough on me. Certainly, I feel like the advantage of having that number one pit stall and, obviously, a very fast car bodes well for us.”

Playoff drivers claimed the top-six spots on the grid, with Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron qualifying sixth to share row three with teammate Elliott.

Recently eliminated from the playoffs, Aric Almirola, Erik Jones and Kurt Busch qualified seventh through ninth, while still-active playoff driver Ryan Blaney was 10th.

Five remaining playoff drivers qualified in the top-20. Alex Bowman was 12th, Joey Logano 14th, Brad Keselowski 16th, Clint Bowyer 17th and Kyle Busch 18th.

Below, is the complete starting grid for the Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway:

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Posted by on October 6, 2019. 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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