Denny Hamlin grabs California pole

Denny Hamlin will go from pole at Fontana

Denny Hamlin will go from pole at Fontana

Denny Hamlin has edged Greg Biffle and Brad Keselowski for the top starting spot for the Auto Club 400 at Fontana in Southern California.

However, the Toyota driver will be the only one set to start up front as both Biffle and Keselowski changed engines in their Fords.

Despite an early draw, Hamlin toured the 2-mile track in 38.410 seconds (187.451 mph) to win the 13th Coors Light pole award of his career and his third at Fontana.

“Honestly, I think our car was really fast,” said Hamlin.

“I knew, talking to a few people in my motor home… it’s cocky to say, but I said, ‘Man, I can almost guarantee a pole, if we have a late draw.’ When they told me we were third, I was like, ‘OK. Well, just never mind. Forget that.’

“I knew, after running so well here in qualifying before, you kind of get a feel for what you need to do as a driver to hit your points and be fast, and I think our car was just exceptional for a lap or so today.”

As time trials ended, Biffle’s team was tearing down his motor to determine the cause of a failure that occurred early in Friday’s opening practice. Keselowski’s team changed engines after the conclusion of practice because of an issue Biffle believed was similar to his. Both power plants come from a common source, Roush Yates Racing Engines.

“I’m a little bit nervous about the engine issues the 16 (Biffle) and the 2 cars had in practice,” said Keselowski.

“Hopefully, those will subside for the race.

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s kind of what it is, and we’ll have a good time, hopefully, racing to the front.”

Australia’s Marcos Ambrose was pleased with his Ford in practice, but that transpire to qualifying where he was 21st.

“I don’t feel too good about that,” said Ambrose.

“We will have to just keep fighting. We have a great team, we have just had a sluggish start to our year so we have to pick it up.”

QUALIFYING: Auto Club 400 – Fontana

POS 

Driver

Car #

Make

Sponsor

MPH

Time

1

Denny Hamlin 11 Toyota FedEx Express 187.451 38.410

2

Greg Biffle 16 Ford 3M Window Film 187.217 -0.048

3

Brad Keselowski 2 Ford Miller Lite 187.149 -0.062

4

Kyle Busch 18 Toyota Interstate Batteries 187.130 -0.066

5

Matt Kenseth 20 Toyota Dollar General 186.688 -0.157

6

Joey Logano 22 Ford AAA Southern Cal 186.514 -0.193

7

Martin Truex Jr 56 Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 186.273 -0.243

8

Tony Stewart 14 Chevrolet Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 185.864 -0.328

9

Mark Martin 55 Toyota Aaron’s Dream Machine 185.792 -0.343

10

Kurt Busch 78 Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing-Serta 185.677 -0.367

11

Casey Mears 13 Ford GEICO 185.157 -0.476

12

Juan Pablo Montoya 42 Chevrolet Target 185.085 -0.491

13

Clint Bowyer 15 Toyota 5-Hour Energy Drink 184.876 -0.535

14

Kevin Harvick 29 Chevrolet Jimmy John’s 184.715 -0.569

15

Dale Earnhardt Jr 88 Chevrolet National Guard 184.625 -0.588

16

Kasey Kahne 5 Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 184.374 -0.641

17

Jamie McMurray 1 Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops 184.233 -0.671

18

Jimmie Johnson 48 Chevrolet Lowe’s / Jimmie Johnson Foundation 184.044 -0.711

19

Jeff Gordon 24 Chevrolet Drive To End Hunger 184.011 -0.718

20

Ryan Newman 39 Chevrolet WIX Filters 183.988 -0.723

21

Marcos Ambrose 9 Ford Mac Tools 183.852 -0.752

22

Jeff Burton 31 Chevrolet Caterpillar 183.702 -0.784

23

Aric Almirola 43 Ford Farmland 183.697 -0.785

24

Carl Edwards 99 Ford Subway 183.570 -0.812

25

Bobby Labonte 47 Toyota Bush’s Beans 183.248 -0.881

26

AJ Allmendinger 51 Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 183.113 -0.910

27

Paul Menard 27 Chevrolet Menards-CertainTeed 183.020 -0.930

28

David Reutimann 83 Toyota Burger King / Dr. Pepper 182.825 -0.972

29

Dave Blaney 7 Chevrolet Sany 182.658 -1.008

30

Josh Wise 35 Ford MDS Transport 182.639 -1.012

31

Ricky Stenhouse Jr 17 Ford NOS Energy Drink 182.519 -1.038

32

David Stremme 30 Toyota Swan Racing 182.473 -1.048

33

Travis Kvapil 93 Toyota Burger King / Dr. Pepper 182.440 -1.055

34

David Gilliland 38 Ford Long John Silver’s 181.493 -1.261

35

Michael McDowell 98 Ford Phil Parsons Racing 181.087 -1.350

36

Landon Cassill 33 Chevrolet Little Joe’s Autos 181.087 -1.350

37

J.J. Yeley 36 Chevrolet Accell Construction 180.203 -1.545

38

Scott Riggs 44 Ford No Label Watches 179.829 -1.628

39

Timmy Hill 32 Ford TBA 179.471 -1.708

40

Danica Patrick 10 Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 179.305 -1.745

41

Mike Bliss 19 Chevrolet Plinker Tactical/Double Tree 178.355 -1.959

42

David Ragan 34 Ford TBA 177.813 -2.082

43

Joe Nemechek 87 Toyota Maddie’s Place Rocks.com 177.144 -2.235

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