Denny Hamlin edges Kyle Larson for Dover pole

Denny Hamlin will start his 500th NASCAR Cup Series race from the sharp end of the field sunday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

Denny Hamlin edges Kyle Larson for Dover pole

Hamlin set the early benchmark in qualifying at 166.984mph and no one seemed to be able to get close to him. 

Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. gave it a proper shot, but still came a full tenth shy as he sat on the provisional front row.

The other JGR playoff driver, Kyle Busch, struggled on his lap and found himself fighting the car to stay on the bottom. He would qualify 18th, the worst of all remaining title contenders.

Kyle Larson seemed to be on a flyer that could unseat Hamlin, but lost it out of the final corner and came up just 0.003 seconds short of pole. For Larson, losing the pole to Hamlin of all drivers made it hurt just a bit more.

"I felt like I ran a good lap ... Three thousandths of a second when you're going that fast isn't much so, wish I was on the pole," he told NBCSN. "I told Denny a few days I was going to get the pole so for him to be a little bit quicker than me is frustrating (laughs).

"Qualifying here is so much fun, especially when it's cooler like this. We're not all the way out of the gas ever, so that was a lot of fun."

Brad Keselowski was the final car on track and took the unique approach of utilizing his first lap as an extension of sorts of his warmup lap, but it did not pay off. He slotted in 16th. 

Truex ended up third, Kevin Harvick fourth and last week's winner Chase Elliott fifth.

The pole comes in Hamlin's 500th career start and is the 32nd of his career.

"I got 'em!," a smiling Hamlin told NBCSN in reference to Larson. "I'm so happy I beat him. To have that lap there, that was a really good lap for us. I knew it was really solid and about nine tenths quicker than we ran yesterday.

"So proud of this whole FedEx team for giving me a car that obviously was super fast. This is probably as optimistic as I've been going into a Dover race simply because we've really dedicated so much time to working on my technique around this race track and figuring out what I need to do to be succesful and still learning, even at start 500."

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Time Gap Mph
1 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 21.559   166.984
2 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 21.562 0.003 166.960
3 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 21.660 0.101 166.205
4 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 21.687 0.128 165.998
5 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 21.695 0.136 165.937
6 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 21.721 0.162 165.738
7 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 21.730 0.171 165.670
8 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 21.737 0.178 165.616
9 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 21.767 0.208 165.388
10 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 21.781 0.222 165.282
11 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 21.782 0.223 165.274
12 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 21.838 0.279 164.850
13 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 21.858 0.299 164.699
14 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 21.859 0.30 164.692
15 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 21.866 0.307 164.639
16 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 21.897 0.338 164.406
17 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 21.901 0.342 164.376
18 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 21.932 0.373 164.144
19 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 21.975 0.416 163.823
20 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 21.977 0.418 163.808
21 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 22.031 0.472 163.406
22 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 22.088 0.529 162.984
23 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 22.113 0.554 162.800
24 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 22.127 0.568 162.697
25 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 22.132 0.573 162.660
26 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 22.137 0.578 162.624
27 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 22.171 0.612 162.374
28 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 22.228 0.669 161.958
29 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 22.320 0.761 161.290
30 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 22.325 0.766 161.254
31 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 22.363 0.804 160.980
32 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 22.401 0.842 160.707
33 51 United States B.J. McLeod  Ford 22.721 1.162 158.444
34 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 22.874 1.315 157.384
35 52 United States J.J. Yeley  Ford 23.023 1.464 156.365
36 27 United States Joe Nemechek  Chevrolet 23.061 1.502 156.108
37 54 United States Garrett Smithley  Chevrolet 23.333 1.774 154.288
38 77 United States Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 23.359 1.80 154.116
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