Trying to put the fine and issues with Joey Logano behind him, Denny Hamlin would win the pole for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
He won the 13th pole of his career with a lap of 38.410 seconds, 187.451 mph. It marks his fourth straight top 10 starting spot of the season and third pole at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin started on the pole last year before finishing 11th.
“I told my crew I could pretty much guarantee the pole had we qualified — anywhere 20th or later. I knew our car was just ridiculous fast in qualifying trim. They’re dragging qualifying out so long right now for TV that it’s going to get fast here at the end.” Hamlin said.
The start of the season hasn’t gone as the driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota expected as he was fined the second weekend of the season at Phoenix for words he spoke about the car after the race. Hamlin was going to appeal, however chose to not appeal but refuses to pay the fine. NASCAR said they would take care of the issue, whether taking the funds after a race or at the end of the year.
Then last week just before halfway, Hamlin would make contact with Logano, putting Logano into the wall. Logano would display his displeasure after the race before the pair carried their feud on to twitter.
Greg Biffle would qualify second for his third top 10 start of the season, and his 10th at Auto Club Speedway. Points leader Brad Keselowski was third for his first top 10 qualifying position in Fontana. However, both Biffle and Keselowski will start the race from the rear after changing the motors during practice.
“That was a spectacular lap considering everything we did today,” Biffle commented afterwards. “We were fortunate enough to get an extra hour of practice here and unfortunately we had about eight minutes of practice today before qualifying. The guys worked really hard to get the engine changed. I got out with three minutes to go to make a lap and we made adjustments from that lap and we were able to put down a pretty fast lap.”
Last week’s race winner Kyle Busch was fourth, followed by Las Vegas race winner Matt Kenseth. Logano was sixth, followed by Martin Truex Jr., Tony Stewart, Mark Martin and Kurt Busch.
Clint Bowyer, who led the practice session, would qualify 13th.