Denny Hamlin will be on the pole for Sunday's Pocono 400, setting a track record in Friday's qualifying session at Pocono Raceway.
Hamlin finished the 2.5-mile course in a time of 49.61 seconds, one of five drivers to shatter the previous track record on a very fast Friday afternoon. The speed of 181.415 miles per hour was far faster than the 180.854 that Jimmie Johnson put up in 2013 to set the record entering Friday.
Hamlin has been on the pole twice before at Pocono, both in 2006, and he won both of those races as a NASCAR rookie. His last victory on the circuit came earlier this season, when he won the Aaron's 499.
Taking the second overall spot was Kurt Busch, while Brad Keselowski will start in third position.
The three-round knockout qualifying system led to great drama during the earlier rounds, with several drivers squeaking into the top 24 of the opening 25-minute round to make it to the second session. From there, onyl 12 drivers advanced, and that group didn't include super hot driver Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson, who won both Pocono races in 2013 and is coming off back-to-back wins including last weekend's FedEx 400 at Dover, will start in 20th position on Sunday. Race time is 1 p.m. ET.
Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!