Denny Hamlin edges Kyle Busch for JGR front row lockout at Michigan

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Denny Hamlin edges Kyle Busch for JGR front row lockout at Michigan
By: Jim Utter
Aug 10, 2018, 10:17 PM

Denny Hamlin started and finished Friday fastest at Michigan International Speedway.

Hamlin, who was fastest in Friday’s only Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session, topped all three round in knockout qualifying and won the pole for Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400.

Hamlin’s average lap speed in the final session was 202.794 mph, the fastest lap recorded during the day.

“I wasn’t that confident (the lap would hold up). I didn’t get all of it but the team gave me a very drivable car, one that could easily and consistently back up times,” Hamlin said. “Time after time we got faster on every run on the race track today.

“I’m proud of this team, they are really stepping up and we’re starting to make a little make a little hay now.”

The pole is the second this season for Hamlin and 28th of his career.

Hamlin just edged his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Kyle Busch (202.731 mph). Kevin Harvick was third, Erik Jones fourth and Austin Dillon completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 12 starters are Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch, who won the pole for the spring race.

Round 2

Hamlin continued his dominance in the second round with an average lap speed of 202.224 mph the only driver to cross 202 mph up to that point.

Harvick ended up second (201.896 mph) and Kyle Busch was third (201.782 mph). Kurt Busch and Truex completed the top-five.

Also advancing to the final round were Bowman, Jones, Logano, Newman, Almirola, Austin Dillon and Blaney.

Among those who failed to advance were Clint Bowyer, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, William Byron and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

“It just wasn’t quite turning the way I thought it would,” Elliott said. “We also had some problems in the spring (race). Hopefully, we’ll get it fixed (Saturday). That was not good.”

Round 1

Hamlin, who was fastest in Friday’s practice, continued to the lead the way in the first 15-minute qualifying session.

Hamlin posted a fastest average lap speed of 201.590 mph, topping Kurt Busch (201.207 mph). Bowman ended up third (200.966 mph).

Almirola ended up fourth and Logano fifth.

Among those who failed to advance to the second round were A.J. Allmendinger, Trevor Bayne, Ty Dillon, Michael McDowell and Daniel Suarez.

Just minutes into the session, Suarez got loose and slapped the Turn 2 wall, doing damage to the right-side of his No. 19 Toyota.

“Sorry guys, I don’t think it’s killed, but it’s pretty bad,” Suarez said over his team radio.

Cla # Driver 4506 Time Gap Mph
1 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 35.504   202.794
2 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 35.515 0.011 202.731
3 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 35.626 0.122 202.100
4 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 35.678 0.174 201.805
5 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 35.688 0.184 201.748
6 31 United States Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 35.704 0.200 201.658
7 78 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 35.746 0.242 201.421
8 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 35.766 0.262 201.309
9 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 35.780 0.276 201.230
10 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 35.788 0.284 201.185
11 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 35.906 0.402 200.524
12 41 United States Kurt Busch  Ford 35.994 0.490 200.033
13 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 35.849 0.345 200.842
14 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 35.854 0.350 200.814
15 1 United States Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 35.897 0.393 200.574
16 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 35.952 0.448 200.267
17 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 35.987 0.483 200.072
18 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 36.074 0.570 199.590
19 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 36.091 0.587 199.496
20 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 36.139 0.635 199.231
21 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 36.167 0.663 199.077
22 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 36.415 0.911 197.721
23 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 36.438 0.934 197.596
24 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 36.467 0.963 197.439
25 47 United States A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 36.483 0.979 197.352
26 6 United States Trevor Bayne  Ford 36.493 0.989 197.298
27 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 36.493 0.989 197.298
28 95 United States Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 36.495 0.991 197.287
29 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 36.639 1.135 196.512
30 32 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 36.663 1.159 196.383
31 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 36.816 1.312 195.567
32 72 United States Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 37.203 1.699 193.533
33 51 United States B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 37.550 2.046 191.744
34 99 United States Gray Gaulding  Chevrolet 37.806 2.302 190.446
35 15 United States Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 37.962 2.458 189.663
36 7 United States Garrett Smithley  Chevrolet 38.228 2.724 188.344
37 66 United States Timmy Hill  Toyota 38.783 3.279 185.648
38 96 United States Jeffrey Earnhardt  Toyota 39.119 3.615 184.054
39 23 Jones Blake  Toyota 39.492 3.988 182.315
40 19 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota    
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Michigan II
Drivers Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Author Jim Utter
Article type Qualifying report