Hamlin wins Pocono pole, new track record

June 6, 2014 No Comments

Hamlin poconoBrian Wiggins, Senior Writer 

Ever since his first trip to Pocono Raceway in a Sprint Cup car in 2006, Denny Hamlin has had Pocono figured out.

The driver of the No.11 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing swept both races at the 2.5-mile, triangle-shaped track in his rookie campaign. His first career win –as well as first at Pocono– happened in “spin and win” fashion.

However, some of that has changed since the “Tricky Triangle” was repaved prior to the June,2012 race.

“The race track is just so different,” Hamlin said. “You might as well rename the race track. It’s just not the same as it used to be.

Hamlin must have found some of his old magic as his success at Pocono continued Friday afternoon, winning the pole for Sunday’s Pocono 400.

“Each session, our balance got a little bit better and we were able to get some more speed out of it,” Hamlin said after his qualifying lap.

“That’s kind of what you want to do. You want to play it enough in the first few round to get to the final round where you go all out.”

By taking the pole position, Hamlin set a new track record. His lap averaging 181.415 mph eclipsed the mark set by defending Pocono 400 winner, Jimmie Johnson, just last season.

“It’s good to get a track record and to have that number-one pit stall,” Hamlin said. “Hopefully this lends itself to a great win on Sunday.”

Friday was the first time since 2006 that Hamlin had won a pole at Pocono Raceway.

NASCAR’s new “knockout qualifying” procedure set up some big names not advancing to the pole-determining final round.

August,2013 Pocono winner, Kasey Kahne, never could find speed in his No.5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet as he failed to advance out of the first round.

Matt Kenseth also failed to advance to the second round of qualifying.

The second round saw Johnson struggle mightily, positing only the twentieth-best lap of the session.

Forty-three cars attempted to qualify for the forty-three car field, meaning no drivers failed to qualify.

Dave Blaney spun in the opening round, not positing a time but still made the field.

Pocono 400 Starting Lineup 

1: Denny Hamlin

2: Kurt Busch

3: Brad Keselowski

4: Kevin Harvick

5: Jeff Gordon

6: Kyle Busch

7: Joey Logano

8: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

9: Brian Vickers

10: Carl Edwards

11: Austin Dillon

12: Tony Stewart

13: Greg Biffle

14: Kyle Larson

15: Ryan Newman

16: Danica Patrick

17: Martin Truex Jr.

18: Jamie McMurray

19: Clint Bowyer

20: Jimmie Johnson

21: AJ Allmendinger

22: Aric Almirola

23: Paul Menard

24: Justin Allgaier

25: Casey Mears

26: Matt Kenseth

27: Kasey Kahne

28: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

29: Marcos Ambrose

30: Michael Annett

31: Landon Cassill

32: David Ragan

33: Travis Kvapil

34: Alex Bowman

35: David Gilliland

36: Reed Sorenson

37: Josh Wise

38: JJ Yeley

39: Timmy Hill

40: Cole Whitt

41: Ryan Truex

42: Alex Kennedy

43: Dave Blaney

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