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DOVER, DELAWARE - OCTOBER 05: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, poses with the pole award after qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway on October 05, 2019 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Drydene 400 Qualifying: Hamlin sets track speed record

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship contender Denny Hamlin set a track qualifying record Saturday at Dover International Speedway in earning the pole position for Sunday’s “Drydene 400” Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

Hamlin, driving the No. 11 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and preparing to make his 500th career NASCAR Cup Series start on Sunday, covered the one-mile, high-banked concrete oval in 166.984 mph (21.559 seconds), besting the mark of 165.960 mph set just last May by Chase Elliott.

In all, four drivers topped the old mark, including runner-up Kyle Larson (166.960 mph), Martin Truex Jr. (166.205 mph) and Kevin Harvick (165.998 mph).

Kyle Busch was the lowest qualifying of the championship contenders, finishing 18th.

This is Hamlin’s fourth career Dover pole in 28 NASCAR Cup Series starts and 32nd of his NASCAR Cup Series career.

The green flag drops on the “Drydene 400” Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race just after 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.