Denny Hamlin is celebrating a historic start this weekend at the Dover International Speedway. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver will make his 500th start in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. He’ll do so, from the pole.
Hamlin, circled the Monster Mile on Saturday with a speed of 166.984 mph in his No. 11 Toyota en route to his 32nd career Busch Pole Award – two of which coming this season. The pole breaks a tie with his teammate Kyle Busch for 24th on the all-time poles list in NASCAR’s premiere series.
What’s shocking is, this will be Hamlin’s first top five start since his pole for the Bristol Night Race back in August.
Joining Hamlin on the front row is Kyle Larson. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver turned in a lap of 166.960 mph in his No. 42 Chevrolet. Larson, was quickest in final practice in both single lap as well as 10 lap averages on Friday.
Martin Truex Jr. (166.205 mph) will start third in his No. 19 Toyota. Truex, won the race back in May but lost his car chief for the rest of the weekend after his car failed inspection multiple times.
Kevin Harvick (165.998 mph) and Chase Elliott (165.937 mph) rounded out the top five. With Truex, Harvick and Elliott all starting in the top five, that means each of the last three Dover race winners in Cup competition will roll off in the top 3 Rows.
Harvick, has seven top eight starting spots over his last eight starts on the season in his No. 4 Ford. Elliott, will start in the top eight for the third time in the last four races.
Drydene 400 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson
Row 2: Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick
Row 3: Chase Elliott, William Byron
Row 4: Aric Almirola, Erik Jones
Row 5: Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney
Row 6: Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman
Row 7: Paul Menard, Joey Logano
Row 8: Daniel Suarez, Brad Keselowski
Row 9: Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch
Row 10: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Matt DiBenedetto
Row 11: David Ragan, Chris Buescher
Row 12: Matt Tifft R, Ryan Newman
Row 13: Ty Dillon, Bubba Wallace
Row 14: Austin Dillon, Michael McDowell
Row 15: Corey LaJoie, Landon Cassill
Row 16: Daniel Hemirc R, Ryan Preece R
Row 17: BJ McLeod, Ross Chastain
Row 18: JJ Yeley, Joe Nemechek
Row 19: Garrett Smithley, Reed Sorenson