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Hamlin makes statement of intent with pole

Kevin Harvick will start from 14th position, while reigning champion Tony Stewart will start from 24th place just ahead of the lowest-places of the Chase contenders, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 25th.

"We were not very good in practice, admitted Earnhardt. "We struggled all weekend really. We just haven't had real good speed ... I don't know what to expect," he said, adding: "It's a lot of different problems."

Elsewhere on pit road this weekend, it was confirmed that Kurt Busch will make his forthcoming full-time move to the Furniture Row Racing team earlier than expected. He will take over from Regan Smith behind the wheel of the #78 beginning with the Bank of America 400 at Charlotte Speedway in two weeks time on October 13, and remain for the final six Cup outings of 2012 ahead of his one-year deal with the team for 2013.

"With these six weeks, we won't go to Daytona with a deer-in-the-headlights feel," said Busch. "We're going to get all the bugs worked out, the newness, the operating procedure, the trips back and forth to Denver," where the single-car team is based.

Busch will run his final two races in the #51 car Phoenix Racing this week at Dover after qualifying in 28th position, and conclude with next weekend's Talladega Superspeedway outing.

"The #51, we're running equipment that's four years old, all 2008 stuff. We did the best we could with what we had. Everybody knows this #78 car has much more potential," he explained. "It is a diamond in the rough, a program that's not reached its full potential. I can't wait to get in the car and deliver."

Full qualifying and practice times available.




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