BRISTOL, Tenn. — Denny Hamlin has won the pole for Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway, a critical short-track showdown for drivers trying to qualify for the playoffs.
The Daytona 500 winner turned a lap at 129.230 mph in his Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in Friday’s qualifying session. His effort bumped Kyle Larson to second and Larson is not locked into the 16-driver playoff field with three races remaining to fill the final seven slots.
Winless on the season, Larson is ranked 13th in the standings and briefly held the pole until Hamlin’s fast lap. The two planned to watch Friday night’s Xfinity Series race together sitting in the Bristol stands, so Hamlin took great delight in knocking him from the top starting spot.