Denny Hamlin has claimed pole for the season-ending NASCAR race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, while team-mate Kyle Busch was the best qualifier in the Final 4 contenders for the championship.
“It’s kind of bittersweet, knowing that the Chase always seems to set up for me,” said Hamlin.
“I’d still like to win (the race), no doubt about it. Trust me, it’s a little bit more relaxing this time around, but I’d definitely trade my position with any one of those four guys.”
Busch pleased to be near the front and that it was his team-mate leading the way.
“Those are some good company to follow right there with the 11 (Hamlin) on the pole,” Busch said.
“He’s obviously one of the best here, and I’ve leaned on him a lot this week, and we’ll continue to do so here through practice tomorrow. But, so far so good. Just happy with the way we’ve got it right now, and hopefully we’ll get a good race car for tomorrow.”
Hamlin, who scored his third pole of the season, will share the front row with Joey Logano, while Kyle Busch will start directly behind in third. Also in the top 12 was championship contenders Jeff Gordon (fifth) and Martin Truex Jr. (11th).
Defending series champion Kevin Harvick missed the final round of qualifying by one position, and will start the race in 13th position. After topping the opening round and making two attempts in the second, Harvick missed the final round by 0.002 seconds.
With qualifying not only important for starting position; pit box selection will also be critical. Hamlin would normally select the final pit box, but could at least choose another stall, opening that for Lagano and allowing Busch to have the next best pit bay at the start of the lane.
VIDEO: Denny Hamlin talks about his pole
STARTING LINE-UP: Ford EcoBoost 400 – Homestead-Miami Speedway
|1||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Ground||176.655||30.568||Leader|
|2||22||Joey Logano||Shell Pennzoil||176.263||30.636||–0.068|
|3||18||Kyle Busch||M&M’s Crispy||176.062||30.671||–0.103|
|6||21||Ryan Blaney||Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center||175.143||30.832||–0.264|
|8||2||Brad Keselowski||Miller Lite||175.046||30.849||–0.281|
|9||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Nationwide||174.678||30.914||–0.346|
|11||78||Martin Truex Jr||Furniture Row Denver Mattress Chevrolet||174.498||30.946||–0.378|
|13||4||Kevin Harvick||Budweiser / Jimmy John’s||175.444||30.779||–0.211|
|14||43||Aric Almirola||Smithfield Foods||175.404||30.786||–0.218|
|15||41||Kurt Busch||Haas Automation||175.365||30.793||–0.225|
|16||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||Fastenal Ford Fusion||175.279||30.808||–0.240|
|18||5||Kasey Kahne||Great Clips||175.239||30.815||–0.247|
|19||20||Matt Kenseth||Dollar General||175.211||30.820||–0.252|
|20||47||AJ Allmendinger||Kroger/Scott Products||174.859||30.882||–0.314|
|21||16||Greg Biffle||Bleacher Report Ford Fusion||174.419||30.960||–0.392|
|23||42||Kyle Larson||Target Plaid||174.059||31.024||–0.456|
|24||15||Clint Bowyer||5 Hour Energy||172.651||31.277||–0.709|
|25||33||Ty Dillon||Nexium 24H||174.848||30.884||–0.316|
|26||6||Trevor Bayne||Advocare Ford Fusion||174.115||31.014||–0.446|
|27||13||Casey Mears||No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS||173.829||31.065||–0.497|
|28||9||Sam Hornish Jr||Cheney Brothers||173.723||31.084||–0.516|
|29||95||Michael McDowell||Thrivent Financial||173.650||31.097||–0.529|
|32||32||Josh Wise||Zak Products||172.833||31.244||–0.676|
|33||7||Alex Bowman||Nikko RC / Toy State||172.750||31.259||–0.691|
|34||40||Landon Cassill||Snap Fitness||172.618||31.283||–0.715|
|36||14||Tony Stewart||Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1||172.276||31.345||–0.777|
|38||55||David Ragan||Aaron’s Online Dream Machine||171.914||31.411||–0.843|
|39||46||Michael Annett||Pilot Flying J||171.597||31.469||–0.901|
|40||35||Cole Whitt||Speed Stick||171.434||31.499||–0.931|
|41||38||David Gilliland||Florida Lottery||171.162||31.549||–0.981|
|42||34||Brett Moffitt||FR8 Auctions||170.989||31.581||–1.013|
|43||98||Ryan Preece||East West Marine/Logan’s/FireAde||169.966||31.771||–1.203|