Denny Hamlin claimed his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole of 2013 on Friday with a 19.013-second record-breaking lap around Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in Friday during qualifying for Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500.
“I’m proud of this whole FedEx One Rate Toyota team,” Hamlin said. “We did some testing for our teammates for this race at another race track, and it definitely seemed to help us.”
In all, 18 drivers beat the old track qualifying record on Friday.
Jimmie Johnson turned in the second-fastest lap time of 19.061 seconds to claim the front-row starting spot alongside Hamlin for Sunday.
“In practice, there was a little bit of work to get things where they needed to be, but we found some direction at the end and made some good adjustments for our qualifying run,” Johnson said. “I think the conditions were pretty tough for everybody. I saw a lot of guys slipping and sliding around and, evidently, the lap wasn’t all that bad.”
Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth qualified third and fourth to claim second row spots and give JGR three cars within the top-five. Clint Bowyer qualified fifth, giving Toyota four of the top-five spots on the starting grid. Johnson, in a Chevrolet, will be the only non-Toyota driver starting in the top-five on Sunday.
“We’re just proud to have all of those JGR cars in the top four,” Hamlin said. “That’s pretty awesome.”
Joey Logano was the fastest-qualifying Ford driver and had the only Ford qualifying in the top-10 in the sixth spot. Qualifying seventh through 10th were Jamie McMurray David Ragan Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick.
Forty-three drivers, the exact number needed for a full race field, made qualifying attempts, so everyone who made a lap in qualifying on Friday has a starting spot for Sunday’s race.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR