By: Brian Smith
Denny Hamlin had another strong session at Dover International Speedway on Saturday morning, turning the fastest lap of the first practice session one day after earning the Coors Light Pole for Sunday’s “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Hamlin ran a lap of 156.331 MPH in the first practice in race trim, besting Carl Edwards by an almost-literal blink of the eye. Edwards, coming off a win in the Coca Cola 600 last week, was at 156.325 MPH, which is .001 of a second slower.
Hamlin was second-quickest in qualifying trim on Friday morning before winning the pole with a lap of 160.121 MPH in the final round of qualifying later in the afternoon. He’s poised to snap a long streak of bad luck at Dover – Hamlin has never won at the track despite starting from the pole twice previously, and has had a career average finish of 19.2. His best finish at the Monster Mile has been a couple of fourth place runs, in 2007 and 2010. He’s lamented his bad luck that’s resulted in only two top-10 finishes in his last eight races at the track, although he did finish fifth in last spring’s FedEx 400.
Right on the doorstep behind those two were Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson, followed by David Ragan, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth in the top 10.
Happy Hour for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars gets underway at 1:00 p.m.