NSCS: Denny Hamlin claims top spot in California qualifying

Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

For the fifth time in as many races, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has another pole winner in the 2012 season. This time, it’s Denny Hamlin taking the top spot for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at the Auto Club Speedway.

Hamlin was able to claim the pole after his lap of 186.403 mph bumped his teammate, Kyle Busch from the top spot with five cars left to go in Friday’s qualifying. It also marks the second time Hamlin has achieved the top spot in 12 races at ACS.

“This is a horsepower and good race car race track,” said Hamlin after qualifying. “Being Toyota’s home track, this is a big deal. Just got to thank all the guys back at JGR( Joe Gibbs Racing) and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) for all their hard work.”

With Hamlin’s pole effort, JGR will not only have the front row secured, but also the eighth place starting position as all three JGR entries will start from the top-10.

After sweeping the top-two spots in the only practice session of the day, Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer were only able to secure the third and eleventh place positions for the race.

Series points leader and 2005 spring race winner at ACS, Greg Biffle, will start in the fourth position after tying with Kasey Kahne for the position. Biffle was awarded the spot due to being higher in the point standings than Kahne.

Kyle Busch, Mark Martin,Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Tony Stewart, and Jimmie Johnson round out the top-1o starting positions for Sunday’s Auto Club 400.

Drivers who failed to qualify included; Robby Gordon, Joe Nemechek and Timmy Hill.

This weekend marks the first time that Nemechek has failed to qualifying for a NSCS race since Phoenix(October), 2010. It’s also the first time that Nemechek will not race at ACS since the track opened in 1997.

 

Starting Lineup for the Auto Club 400 

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Mark Martin
  4. Greg Biffle
  5. Kasey Kahne
  6. Ryan Newman
  7. Kevin Harvick
  8. Joey Logano
  9. Tony Stewart
  10. Jimmie Johnson
  11. Clint Bowyer
  12. Carl Edwards
  13. Martin Truex Jr.
  14. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  15. Matt Kenseth
  16. Jamie McMurray
  17. Brad Keselowski
  18. David Reutimann
  19. Jeff Burton
  20. David Stremme
  21. Jeff Gordon
  22. Regan Smith
  23. Kurt Busch
  24. Juan Pablo Montoya
  25. A.J. Allmendinger
  26. Bobby Labonte
  27. Paul Menard
  28. Aric Almirola
  29. Marcos Ambrose
  30. Josh Wise
  31. Landon Cassill
  32. Michael McDowell
  33. Casey Mears
  34. Dave Blaney
  35. Scott Riggs
  36. J.J. Yeley
  37. Brendan Gaughan
  38. David Ragan
  39. Mike Bliss
  40. Reed Sorenson
  41. Travis Kvapil
  42. David Gilliland
  43. Ken Schrader

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