|Hamlin puts FedEx car on pole near FedEx headquarters|
|Getty Images for NASCAR|
Funny how these things happen in NASCAR. FedEx, headquartered in Memphis, Tenn, got to see their FedEx car win the pole in nearby Bristol, Tenn.
Defending race winner Denny Hamlin surged to the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying with a lap of 128.969 mph at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Hamlin’s pole was his fourth of the year, first at the Tennessee track and 16th of his Sprint Cup career. He’ll start first, driving the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, in Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC) on the 0.533-mile concrete track.
Kurt Busch will start second in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet after a lap of 128.770 mph. Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth completed the top five.
Kyle Busch, seeking a sweep of Bristol’s three national series events this weekend, led final practice but posted the slowest qualifying speed after an adventurous attempt. He washed up the track in Turns 3 and 4 on his first qualifying lap but stopped before crossing the start-finish line.
Busch drove the opposite direction and made a U-turn in order to get a running start for his second lap. But Busch crumpled the right-rear corner of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota as he spun out of Turn 2.
Series leader Jimmie Johnson, who holds a 41-point advantage over Clint Bowyer, did the same maneuver as Busch, but with better results. He turned around during his warm-up lap and regrouped to qualify 13th. Kasey Kahne, the most recent Bristol winner in March and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, qualified seventh.
Mark Martin, making his first fill-in start for the injured Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, qualified 11th. Ryan Truex, making his Sprint Cup debut in the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevy, will start 18th.
Mike Bliss was the only driver who failed to qualify for the 43-car field.
|1||Denny Hamlin||11||Toyota||FedEx Ground||128.969||14.878||Leader|
|2||Kurt Busch||78||Chevrolet||Furniture Row / Sealy||128.770||14.901||–0.023|
|4||Brian Vickers||55||Toyota||Aaron's Dream Machine||128.684||14.911||–0.033|
|5||Matt Kenseth||20||Toyota||Dollar General||128.580||14.923||–0.045|
|7||Kasey Kahne||5||Chevrolet||Farmers Insurance||128.348||14.950||–0.072|
|8||Ryan Newman||39||Chevrolet||Quicken Loans||128.236||14.963||–0.085|
|9||Martin Truex Jr||56||Toyota||NAPA Auto Parts||128.159||14.972||–0.094|
|10||Aric Almirola||43||Ford||RainEater Wiper Blades||128.134||14.975||–0.097|
|11||Mark Martin||14||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1||127.852||15.008||–0.130|
|12||Brad Keselowski||2||Ford||Miller Lite||127.741||15.021||–0.143|
|13||Jimmie Johnson||48||Chevrolet||Lowe's Dover White||127.665||15.030||–0.152|
|15||Kevin Harvick||29||Chevrolet||Jimmy John's||127.588||15.039||–0.161|
|16||Juan Pablo Montoya||42||Chevrolet||Target||127.546||15.044||–0.166|
|17||David Ragan||34||Ford||Peanut Patch Boiled Peanuts||127.529||15.046||–0.168|
|19||Dale Earnhardt Jr||88||Chevrolet||Diet Mountain Dew||127.048||15.103||–0.225|
|21||Paul Menard||27||Chevrolet||Menards / Schrock||126.787||15.134||–0.256|
|23||Bobby Labonte||47||Toyota||Bush's Beans||126.578||15.159||–0.281|
|24||Clint Bowyer||15||Toyota||5-Hour Energy||126.495||15.169||–0.291|
|25||David Gilliland||38||Ford||Dockside Logistics||126.470||15.172||–0.294|
|26||Michael McDowell||98||Ford||Victory Junction||126.362||15.185||–0.307|
|27||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||17||Ford||Nationwide Insurance||126.278||15.195||–0.317|
|28||Josh Wise||35||Ford||Carson-Newman University||126.245||15.199||–0.321|
|31||David Reutimann||83||Toyota||Burger King / Dr. Pepper||125.757||15.258||–0.380|
|32||Jeff Gordon||24||Chevrolet||Axalta Coating Systems||125.749||15.259||–0.381|
|33||Landon Cassill||40||Chevrolet||Moon Shine Attitude Attire||125.338||15.309||–0.431|
|34||J.J. Yeley||36||Chevrolet||United Mining Equipment||125.036||15.346||–0.468|
|35||Ken Schrader||32||Ford||Federated Auto Parts||125.011||15.349||–0.471|
|37||Joe Nemechek||87||Toyota||Greer Roofing||124.922||15.360||–0.482|
|38||David Stremme||30||Toyota||Swan Energy/Lean 1||124.678||15.390||–0.512|
|39||Travis Kvapil||93||Toyota||Burger King / Dr. Pepper||124.517||15.410||–0.532|
|40||Tony Raines||33||Chevrolet||Little JoesAutos.com||124.162||15.454||–0.576|
|42||Scott Speed||95||Ford||Leavine Family Racing||123.570||15.528||–0.650|