NASCAR at Watkins Glen 2018 Qualifying Results: Denny Hamlin Takes Pole

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 5, 2018

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 04: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GoBowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 4, 2018 in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Denny Hamlin will start from the pole position at the 2018 Go Bowling at Watkins Glen on Sunday after posting the top qualifying speed of 125.534 mph and time of 70.26 seconds Saturday. 

Kyle Busch was right on Hamlin's bumper with a lap time of 70.32 seconds to earn a spot on the front row. Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson round out the top five. 


Here's how the entire lineup for Sunday's race will start, via

Row 1: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch

Row 2: Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr. 

Row 3: Kyle Larson, Joey Logano

Row 4: Aric Almirola, A.J. Allmendinger

Row 5: Erik Jones, Kasey Kahne

Row 6: Ryan Blaney, Michael McDowell

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Row 7: Jimmie Johnson, Paul Menard

Row 8: Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick

Row 9: William Byron, Brad Keselowski

Row 10: Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman

Row 11: Kurt Busch, Chris Buescher

Row 12: Daniel Suarez, Alex Bowman

Row 13: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Dillon

Row 14: David Ragan, Matt Kenseth

Row 15: Parker Kligerman, Matt DiBenedetto

Row 16: Bubba Wallace, Ty Dillon

Row 17: Cole Whitt, Ross Chastain

Row 18: Josh Bilicki, Spencer Gallagher

Row 19: Landon Cassill

Busch comes into this race with all the momentum in the world. The runner-up for last year's championship overcame a failed inspection after qualifying last week to win the Gander Outdoors 400 at Pocono after starting 28th. He increased his lead in the overall standings to 58 points over Kevin Harvick.

Hamlin, who is ninth in the playoff standings, won his first pole of the season and is in search of his first victory since September 2017.

NASCAR reporter Jeff Gluck also noted Hamlin did something on Saturday he's never done in his career:

Starting in the second row, Elliott continues his strong showing at Watkins Glen this weekend. He posted the fastest time during Saturday's final practice at 70.83 seconds. 

Truex, who is the defending champion at this event, is starting next to Elliott. He's seeking his third straight victory on a road course. The reigning Monster Energy Cup Series champion is third in with 762 points and can close the gap on Busch atop the rankings. 

Watkins Glen's road course is going to serve as good preparation for the playoffs. NASCAR added the unique track to part of its 10-race championship format this year, though it will come in the form a modified Charlotte Motor Speedway. 

This marks the first time a road course will be featured in the playoff, which should only add to the drama because of how difficult these tracks can be. 

Matt Kenseth, for instance, has 39 career Monster Energy Series wins. None have come on a road course, though he nearly ended that streak with a second-place finish last year. The 46-year-old will need to be on top of his game to change his luck Sunday as he starts from the 28th position.