Saturday, October 16, 2021

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Hamlin shatters Charlotte track record

Seems as though every week in the Sprint Cup Series previous track records are falling by the wayside.

Whether it’s a short-track such as Bristol Motor Speedway or a 1.5-mile speedway like Charlotte, NASCAR’s new Generation-6 race car has led to blistering speeds when cars take to the track for qualifying.

That was no different Thursday evening as Denny Hamlin turned a lap averaging nearly 196 mph to win the pole position for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

“This is like a victory for me,” Hamlin said after the qualifying session was over.

Hamlin’s lap at 195.624 mph knocked off provisional pole sitter at the time, Kurt Busch, to earn his second pole award of the season.

“It just takes so much nerve to do it,” was the way Hamlin described how it felt to run that fast around Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“You can’t do it without a fast car.”

The last time Hamlin won a pole position was at Auto Club Speedway back in March; the same race where he suffered an L1 compression fracture, sidelining him for the month of April.

“Proud to be back on the race track. We’re really getting things going right now so I’m really happy about everything.”

Busch will start alongside Hamlin, marking the third time in 2013 that the 2004 Cup champion will start on the front row.

“I left a little on the table in [turns] three and four,” Busch said after his lap.

Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, and Ryan Newman make up the top-10 starters for Sunday’s race.

44 cars attempted to make the 43-car field.

Mike Bliss was the lone driver to miss the starting field.

Coca-Cola 600 Unofficial Starting Lineup 

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Kurt Busch
  3. Matt Kenseth
  4. Mark Martin
  5. Clint Bowyer
  6. Kasey Kahne
  7. Greg Biffle
  8. Kyle Busch
  9. Jamie McMurray
  10.  Ryan Newman
  11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  12. Jimmie Johnson
  13. Carl Edwards
  14. Jeff Gordon
  15. Kevin Harvick
  16. Juan Pablo Montoya
  17. Martin Truex Jr.
  18. Aric Almirola
  19. Marcos Ambrose
  20. Brad Keselowski
  21. Casey Mears
  22. Paul Menard
  23. JJ Yeley
  24. Danica Patrick
  25. Tony Stewart
  26. David Gilliland
  27. Jeff Burton
  28. Travis Kvapil
  29. Trevor Bayne
  30. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  31. Joey Logano
  32. Michael McDowell
  33. Dave Blaney
  34. Bobby Labonte
  35. David Ragan
  36. Regan Smith
  37. Scott Speed
  38. David Reutimann
  39. David Stremme
  40. Timmy Hill
  41. Joe Nemechek
  42. Landon Cassill
  43. Josh Wise


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