Hamlin Captures Second Consecutive Pole Position for Auto Club 400
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (March 22, 2013) – Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota) raced to the Coors Light Pole position on opening day Friday at the Auto Club Speedway, posting a lap time of 38.410 seconds (187.451 mph) for Sunday’s 17th Annual Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Hamlin was surprised he grabbed the pole because he was third in Friday’s qualifying order. “I thought my chances of grabbing the pole were slim,” he said. “I think our car was really fast. It’s cocky to say, but I was saying I could almost guarantee a pole if we had a late draw.
“I think, except for one exceptional car, the pole would have been later. I knew my lap was really good. I knew it felt good. It’s a good way to start the weekend. Hopefully I won’t see any passing.”
This is Hamlin’s third pole is his last six races at Auto Club Speedway and his second consecutive. He finished 11th last year. In October of 2009, he also captured the pole and finished 37th.
It was Hamlin’s 13th pole in 264 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and his first pole and four Top 10 start in 2013.
Hamlin has just one Top 5 finish in 12 previous Sprint Cup races at Auto Club Speedway, finishing third in August of 2008.
Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Window Film Ford) and Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) had the second and third fastest laps in qualifying, respectively, but both will start in the back because of engine changes. Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota) and Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) rounded out the top 5.
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About Auto Club Speedway: Located 50 miles east of Los Angeles in Fontana, California, Auto Club Speedway is California’s premier motorsports facility, hosting over 320 days of track activity each year including the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 weekend in March and the MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships Finale weekend in October. The two-mile D-shaped oval is one of the fastest tracks on the INDYCAR and NASCAR circuits. The Speedway is also home to numerous movies, television and commercial productions, photo shoots, new car testing, club racing and a variety of racing schools. For more information on events at Auto Club Speedway call 1-800-944-RACE (7223) or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com . For more information on event lodging, visit the Hilton Garden Inn, Fontana, the official hotel partner of Auto Club Speedway and Auto Club Dragway.