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Hamlin wins Brickyard 400 pole

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Saturday, July 28, 2012

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Denny Hamlin
Getty Images for NASCAR
Toyota has never won a Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but Denny Hamlin took a first step toward a breakthrough victory for the manufacturer with a decisive pole run on Saturday afternoon.

The 27th driver to make a qualifying run, Hamlin put down a lap no one could touch, touring the vaunted Brickyard in 49.244 seconds (182.763 mph) to collect his first Coors Light pole award at Indy, his second of the season and the 11th of his career.

Hamlin will lead the field to the green flag in Sunday's race in his No. 11 Toyota.

In his first competitive outing with new crew chief Chad Norris, Carl Edwards qualified second at 181.984 mph. Third was Joey Logano (181.756 mph), Hamlin's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Aric Almirola (181.679 mph) will start fourth, followed by Greg Biffle (181.532 mph), as two Toyotas and three Fords comprised the top five, threatening to end Chevrolet's nine-year dominance at the 2.5-mile speedway.

Hamlin certainly thinks he has a strong chance to do just that. Short of calling his shot a la Babe Ruth, Hamlin exuded confidence in his post-race press conference.

"I think, if you put me out front on the last run, no one's going to get around me," Hamlin said. "So it's all going to be about maintaining track position and maintaining the balance of your race car. I've been good here before and not been able to pass.

"There's always been about two cars, in every single race here, that's been capable of passing. Everyone else just kind of runs where they're at. All you can do is hope that you've got a fast enough car to be one of those two, where, if you do get set back, you can be one of the cars that can get back to the front.

"One thing about it is having the No. 1 pit stall now. That's going to be an advantage on pit road. I think it's hard to point to the outfield right now, but we've got the bat halfway raised."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., second in the Cup standings, will start 20th, 10 spots behind Kenseth, the driver he is chasing for the series lead.

"We didn't have a good race car in qualifying trim, and it showed today," Earnhardt said. "But we have a good car in race trim, and we'll race good."

Michael McDowell, Reed Sorenson and Joe Nemechek failed to make the 43-car field. Nemechek had competed in 17 of 18 Cup races at the Brickyard, failing to qualify only in 2007. McDowell was fast enough to make the field on speed, but his time was disallowed after post-qualifying inspection because the nitrogen gas in the rear shocks exceeded the allowable pressure.

Lineup

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 182.763 49.244 Leader
2 99 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal 181.984 49.455 -0.211
3 20 Joey Logano Toyota Dollar General 181.756 49.517 -0.273
4 43 Aric Almirola Ford Eckrich 181.679 49.538 -0.294
5 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 181.532 49.578 -0.334
6 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 181.357 49.626 -0.382
7 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 181.046 49.711 -0.467
8 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Menards / Nibco 181.014 49.720 -0.476
9 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 180.952 49.737 -0.493
10 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Fifth Third Bank 180.654 49.819 -0.575
11 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Quicken Loans 180.611 49.831 -0.587
12 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 180.516 49.857 -0.613
13 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet HendrickCars.com 180.487 49.865 -0.621
14 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 180.473 49.869 -0.625
15 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 180.447 49.876 -0.632
16 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 180.437 49.879 -0.635
17 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 180.433 49.880 -0.636
18 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 180.390 49.892 -0.648
19 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 180.386 49.893 -0.649
20 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet AMP Energy / National Guard 180.245 49.932 -0.688
21 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Rain-X 180.177 49.951 -0.707
22 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 180.148 49.959 -0.715
23 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford DEWALT 180.072 49.980 -0.736
24 22 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 179.928 50.020 -0.776
25 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 179.519 50.134 -0.890
26 30 David Stremme Toyota Inception Motorsports 179.212 50.220 -0.976
27 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Jimmy Johns 178.894 50.309 -1.065
28 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Mobil 1 / Office Depot 178.862 50.318 -1.074
29 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Scott Products 178.816 50.331 -1.087
30 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King 178.543 50.408 -1.164
31 38 David Gilliland Ford Big Machine Records 178.508 50.418 -1.174
32 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet SealWrap 178.486 50.424 -1.180
33 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 178.419 50.443 -1.199
34 195 Scott Speed Ford Leavine Family Racing 177.855 50.603 -1.359
35 26 Josh Wise* Chevrolet Taco Bell 177.743 50.635 -1.391
36 34 David Ragan Ford Scorpion Coatings / Al's Liners 177.630 50.667 -1.423
37 33 Stephen Leicht* Chevrolet Little Joes Autos.com 177.347 50.748 -1.504
38 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King 177.340 50.750 -1.506
39 179 Mike Skinner Ford Koma Unwind 176.894 50.878 -1.634
40 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 176.859 50.888 -1.644
41 10 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 176.523 50.985 -1.741
42 32 Ken Schrader+ Ford Special Operations For America.org 174.768 51.497 -2.253
43 119 Mike Bliss Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing 176.180 51.084 -1.840
DNQ 191 Reed Sorenson Ford Humphrey Smith Racing 175.610 51.250 -2.006
DNQ 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves 175.142 51.387 -2.143
DNQ 98 Michael McDowell Ford K-Love / Curb Records 177.901 50.590 -1.346

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

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