Denny Hamlin posts his third career XFINITY Series pole at Richmond
RICHMOND, VA. – There was no place like home for Chesterfield, Virginia’s Denny Hamlin on Friday.
Hamlin swept all three rounds of qualifying for the Toyota Care 250 XFINITY Series race.
His lap of 124.069 mph was just 0.009-seconds faster than Joey Logano – but quick enough for his third career pole at Richmond International Raceway.
“That was a little closer than I would have liked,” Hamlin said. “We have a great car…hopefully we can get a win."
Best of the rest
Lining up behind Hamlin and Logano are Erik Jones, Aric Almirola, Brian Scott and Kevin Harvick. Defending XFINITY Series Champion Chase Elliott will start seventh, followed by his JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith, Daniel Suarez, Brennan Poole, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Chris Buescher.
Hamlin’s top speed in the first round was 125. 046 mph. Elliott, Harvick, Elliott Sadler, Logano, Jones, Landon Cassill, Ty Dillon, Austin Dillon, Ryan Reed and Mike Bliss were the top 10 on the speed chart.
In the second round, Hamlin bested Jones with a lap of 124.476 mph. Harvick, Elliott, Buescher and Almirola posted the six fastest times in the second segment.
“A little on the loose side on exit,” Hamlin said after his final lap. “The center turned a little bit better, still a little bound up. It gets a little freer in.”
Johanna Long and Morgan Shepherd failed to make the show. Long, who was hoping to make her NASCAR return after a one-year hiatus, struggled with the handling on the car.
“It’s the corner,” Long said. “I just can’t pick up the throttle.”
Hamlin, who already has two wins in the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, will look for the hat trick on Friday night.
“I love this race track," Hamlin said. "It fits my driving style perfectly. It’s in front of the hometown fans. I love coming to Richmond, I always do and you always feel better when you can run this good.”