Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hamlin wins Sprint Cup pole at Fontana

Denny Hamlin calls his Toyota “ridiculous fast.”

Denny Hamlin calls his Toyota “ridiculous fast.”

FONTANA, Calif. — Denny Hamlin won the Sprint Cup pole for the second straight year at Auto Club Raceway, turning a lap of 187.451 mph on Friday.

Fellow Toyota drivers were not far behind.

Hamlin's JGR teammates, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth, will start fourth and fifth, respectively. Michael Waltrip Racing's Martin Truex will start seventh, Mark Martin eighth and Clint Bowyer (who had been the fastest during Friday's practice session) 12th.

Hamlin earned his first pole of the year and the 13th of his career. He won three last year and has won the pole three times at Auto Club Speedway.

"I told my crew I could pretty much guarantee the pole," said Hamlin, currently sixth in the point standings. "I knew our car was just ridiculous fast. I love this race track. A lot of the reason is because it's bumpy and it's worn out. We got tire fall-off … like three seconds between the beginning of a run and the end of a run. That always makes for good racing."

Greg Biffle finished second at 187.217 mph, and Brad Kese­lowski, who leads the points standings, third at 187.130 mph. But they must start at the back because they changed engines after experiencing problems during Friday's practice.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is second in points, qualified 15th while Danica Patrick qualified 40th via owners points.

Bowyer lawsuit: Bowyer asked a South Dakota judge to dismiss a motorcycle company's lawsuit against him that alleges he didn't pay for $31,000 of custom work it did on his Harley-Davidson four years ago. Bowyer said he paid the debt through promotional services, including arranging for a tour of restricted areas at Daytona speedway. There is no timetable for a ruling.

Hamlin wins Sprint Cup pole at Fontana 03/22/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 22, 2013 10:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  2. Fennelly: This season's Chris Archer is a pleasure to watch

    The Heater


    At this time last season, through 10 starts, Rays pitcher Chris Archer was 3-5 on his way to 9-19.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.
  3. Bucs' O.J. Howard ends big day with BP, first pitch for Rays


    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard is known for his athleticism at 6-foot-6, 251-pounds. As an outfielder, he took his Autuaga Academy High School baseball team to the state tournament in Alabama as a junior.

    On Monday, after a little instruction from Steven Souza, Jr., the left-handed hitting Howard started making …

  4. Arm problems in the past, USF rides pitching into AAC baseball tournament


    TAMPA — By his second relief inning in last year's season opener, USF right-hander Ryan Valdes had lost the fizz on his fastball.

    USF senior right-hander Ryan Valdes, an Alonso High alumnus, is one of three prominent Bulls pitchers flourishing after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. [USF Athletics]
  5. Ryan Fitzpatrick likes Bucs weapons, believes he's a good fit


    Ryan Fitzpatrick’s experience playing for six other NFL teams is what made him attractive to the Bucs as a backup to starter Jameis Winston. But if he has to play, the former Jets quarterback is happy about all the weapons on Tampa Bay’s offense.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick is happy about all the weapons on Tampa Bay’s offense.