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2013 Charlotte NASCAR: Cup qualifying

Denny Hamlin claimed pole position for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the 12th round of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin showed he was well and truly back on top form by securing pole position for this weekend's Coka Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway, to be held on Sunday afternoon and evening.

Hamlin missed several races after injuring his lower back in a pre-Easter crash at Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, and only returned to full-time competition two weeks ago at Darlington. But on Thursday evening Hamlin put in a time of 27.604s (195.624mph) to claim the top spot by a slender 0.057s margin.

It's Hamlin's second pole position of 2013 and his 14th pole in 267 series starts, and his first pole in 16 races at the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Hamlin's previously converted three of his most recent 13 pole positions to a race win and he said on Thursday that this now had to be the target if he was to stand any hope of making the post-season Chase after his recent enforced layoff.

"For me, it's going to take wins and a lot of really good consistency throughout these summer months to put ourselves in a position to have a chance at a championship," he said. "That's what we're here for. Even these small victories, though, give me that confidence that I'm still capable [and] able to do the job at 100 per cent like I should be. Any kind of confidence booster for me, it's always a plus on Sunday."

Kurt Busch continues a recent strong run of performances for Furniture Row Racing by putting the #78 on the front row alongside Hamlin, while the next three spots are all taken by Toyota drivers - JGR's Matt Kenseth followed by Michael Waltrip Racing's erstwhile veteran Mark Martin and his team mate Clint Bowyer. Hendrick Motorsports' Kasey Kahne will round out the top six for the start of Sunday's race.

With 44 cars competing to make the 43-car grid, Mike Bliss was the odd man out. Danica Patrick was the highest-qualifying rookie for the race in 24th. Former F1 race Scott Speed comfortably made the race, having announced earlier this week that his Leavine Family Racing team was adding up to ten further NASCAR Sprint Cup events to his 2013 schedule thanks to the additional funding attracted to the team by their recent top-ten finish at Talladega.

Qualifying times

1. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 27.604s (Pole) 195.624mph
2. #78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 27.661s (+ 0.057s) 195.221mph
3. #20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 27.679s (+ 0.075s) 195.094mph
4. #55 Mark Martin Toyota 27.750s (+ 0.146s) 194.595mph
5. #15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 27.763s (+ 0.159s) 194.503mph
6. #5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 27.785s (+ 0.181s) 194.349mph
7. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 27.801s (+ 0.197s) 194.238mph
8. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 27.842s (+ 0.238s) 193.952mph
9. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 27.879s (+ 0.275s) 193.694mph
10. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 27.887s (+ 0.283s) 193.639mph
11. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 27.915s (+ 0.311s) 193.444mph
12. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 27.937s (+ 0.333s) 193.292mph
13. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 27.940s (+ 0.336s) 193.271mph
14. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 27.985s (+ 0.381s) 192.961mph
15. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 28.049s (+ 0.445s) 192.520mph
16. #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 28.083s (+ 0.479s) 192.287mph
17. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 28.097s (+ 0.493s) 192.191mph
18. #43 Aric Almirola Ford 28.106s (+ 0.502s) 192.130mph
19. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 28.107s (+ 0.503s) 192.123mph
20. #2 Brad Keselowski Ford 28.142s (+ 0.538s) 191.884mph
21. #13 Casey Mears Ford 28.142s (+ 0.538s) 191.884mph
22. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 28.165s (+ 0.561s) 191.727mph
23. #36 JJ Yeley Chevrolet 28.274s (+ 0.670s) 190.988mph
24. #10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 28.298s (+ 0.694s) 190.826mph
25. #14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 28.303s (+ 0.699s) 190.792mph
26. #38 David Gilliland Ford 28.322s (+ 0.718s) 190.665mph
27. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 28.348s (+ 0.744s) 190.490mph
28. #93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 28.359s (+ 0.755s) 190.416mph
29. #21 Trevor Bayne Ford 28.360s (+ 0.756s) 190.409mph
30. #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 28.385s (+ 0.781s) 190.241mph
31. #22 Joey Logano Ford 28.414s (+ 0.810s) 190.047mph
32. #98 Michael McDowell Ford 28.426s (+ 0.822s) 189.967mph
33. #7 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 28.452s (+ 0.848s) 189.793mph
34. #47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 28.511s (+ 0.907s) 189.401mph
35. #34 David Ragan Ford 28.564s (+ 0.960s) 189.049mph
36. #51 Regan Smith Chevrolet 28.613s (+ 1.009s) 188.725mph
37. #95 Scott Speed Ford 28.623s (+ 1.019s) 188.659mph
38. #83 David Reutimann Toyota 28.665s (+ 1.061s) 188.383mph
39. #30 David Stremme Toyota 28.683s (+ 1.079s) 188.265mph
40. #32 Timmy Hill Ford 28.706s (+ 1.102s) 188.114mph
41. #87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 28.711s (+ 1.107s) 188.081mph
42. #33 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 28.712s (+ 1.108s) 188.075mph
43. #35 Josh Wise Ford 28.969s (+ 1.365s) 186.406mph

Did Not Qualify

#19 Mike Bliss Toyota 28.690s (+ 1.086s) 188.219mph

Practice 1 times

1. #78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 28.295s (Leader) 190.846mph (7 laps)
2. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 28.351s (-0.056s) 190.469mph (9 laps)
3. #5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 28.472s (-0.177s) 189.660mph (9 laps)
4. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 28.472s (-0.177s) 189.660mph (7 laps)
5. #43 Aric Almirola Ford 28.503s (-0.208s) 189.454mph (9 laps)
6. #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 28.537s (-0.242s) 189.228mph (16 laps)
7. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 28.551s (-0.256s) 189.135mph (11 laps)
8. #55 Mark Martin Toyota 28.554s (-0.259s) 189.115mph (5 laps)
9. #20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 28.563s (-0.268s) 189.056mph (7 laps)
10. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 28.573s (-0.278s) 188.990mph (9 laps)
11. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 28.588s (-0.293s) 188.890mph (9 laps)
12. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 28.591s (-0.296s) 188.871mph (9 laps)
13. #15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 28.616s (-0.321s) 188.706mph (7 laps)
14. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 28.642s (-0.347s) 188.534mph (9 laps)
15. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 28.643s (-0.348s) 188.528mph (6 laps)
16. #14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 28.658s (-0.363s) 188.429mph (19 laps)
17. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 28.660s (-0.365s) 188.416mph (10 laps)
18. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 28.695s (-0.400s) 188.186mph (14 laps)
19. #22 Joey Logano Ford 28.709s (-0.414s) 188.094mph (29 laps)
20. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 28.714s (-0.419s) 188.062mph (8 laps)
21. #21 Trevor Bayne Ford 28.720s (-0.425s) 188.022mph (13 laps)
22. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 28.745s (-0.450s) 187.859mph (19 laps)
23. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 28.782s (-0.487s) 187.617mph (8 laps)
24. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 28.786s (-0.491s) 187.591mph (11 laps)
25. #51 Regan Smith Chevrolet 28.862s (-0.567s) 187.097mph (16 laps)
26. #2 Brad Keselowski Ford 28.864s (-0.569s) 187.084mph (15 laps)
27. #13 Casey Mears Ford 28.867s (-0.572s) 187.065mph (17 laps)
28. #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 28.868s (-0.573s) 187.058mph (14 laps)
29. #10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 28.885s (-0.590s) 186.948mph (17 laps)
30. #19 Mike Bliss Toyota 28.902s (-0.607s) 186.838mph (11 laps)
31. #34 David Ragan Ford 28.908s (-0.613s) 186.800mph (11 laps)
32. #98 Michael McDowell Ford 28.910s (-0.615s) 186.787mph (7 laps)
33. #38 David Gilliland Ford 28.934s (-0.639s) 186.632mph (10 laps)
34. #93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 29.005s (-0.710s) 186.175mph (5 laps)
35. #95 Scott Speed Ford 29.007s (-0.712s) 186.162mph (9 laps)
36. #87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 29.098s (-0.803s) 185.580mph (9 laps)
37. #30 David Stremme Toyota 29.136s (-0.841s) 185.338mph (14 laps)
38. #7 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 29.144s (-0.849s) 185.287mph (9 laps)
39. #47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 29.160s (-0.865s) 185.185mph (21 laps)
40. #36 JJ Yeley Chevrolet 29.314s (-1.019s) 184.212mph (5 laps)
41. #33 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 29.331s (-1.036s) 184.106mph (5 laps)
42. #32 Timmy Hill Ford 29.347s (-1.052s) 184.005mph (11 laps)
43. #83 David Reutimann Toyota 29.546s (-1.251s) 182.766mph (12 laps)
44. #35 Josh Wise Ford 29.796s (-1.501s) 181.232mph (11 laps)



Related Pictures

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Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne drives the #5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, poses in Victory Lane after qualifying for the pole position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualified for seventh position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualified for sixth position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Johnson is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, qualified for second position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Gordon leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s Chevrolet SS, won the pole position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Harvick is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with the pole award after qualifying fastest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with his wife DeLana, son Keelan, and the pole award after qualifying fastest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, poses with the trophy in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jake Crum, driver of the #01 My Freedom Smokes Chevrolet, and Bryan Silas, driver of the #99 Bell Trucks America Inc. Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, and the rest of the field during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, August 17, 2014 in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS finished second. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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