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Bristol: Cup qualifying

Denny Hamlin will start Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup race from pole position with Kurt Busch starting alongside him on the front row at Bristol.
Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin won his fourth pole of 2013 for Saturday's IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, his lap of 14.878s (128.969mph) pipping Furniture Row Racing's Kurt Busch to the top spot by just 0.023s on the half mile short track.

“It was a nerve-wracking type of lap where you know you've got to drive it to a certain speed and hope that you've got a cushion there to kind of lean on,” said Hamlin. "We obviously hit it just right and was able to get the pole."

It's Hamlin's 16th pole in 279 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and the first time he's claimed pole position at Bristol for a Cup race. Alongside him, on the front row, Kurt Busch was lucky to be in a fit state for qualifying after badly crumpling the #78 in the wall in practice earlier in the day.

"The whole right side was pancaked and we were right on that edge of do you fix it or do you pull out the backup?" he explained. "It was so cool to feel the energy from my guys. They all rolled their sleeves up and they all looked at the clock and said, 'We have an hour-and-a-half to fix this.'"

Second row went to Carl Edwards and Brian Vickers in his first race in the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing machine since being handed the seat for the rest of 2013 by the departure of Mark Martin to sub for Tony Stewart in the #14. Martin will start Saturday night's floodlit race from 11th position.

However there was disaster for Hamlin's JGR team mate (and Kurt's younger brother) Kyle Busch. Having won the midweek Truck race on Wednesday and then clinched pole position for the Nationwide Series race, his Cup qualifying run was a nightmare: he washed up the track before the end of his first timed lap, then did a U-turn to try and get a 'run-up' for his second lap attempt only to then spin in turn 2 and crunch the right-rear corner of the #18. As a result, Busch will now start from the rear of the field.

“The car just got loose in three and four, and I wasn't able to keep it off the wall,” explained Busch, who had earlier topped the second Cup practice session. “Thought we could still salvage a decent lap, but it just got too loose on the second lap.”

Ryan Truex, making his Sprint Cup début in the #51 Phoenix Racing car, will start from 18th. Mike Bliss was the only driver to fail to make the 43-car grid for Saturday's race.

Qualifying times

1. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 14.878s (Pole) 128.969mph
2. #78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 14.901s (+ 0.023s) 128.770mph
3. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 14.910s (+ 0.032s) 128.692mph
4. #55 Brian Vickers Toyota 14.911s (+ 0.033s) 128.684mph
5. #20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 14.923s (+ 0.045s) 128.580mph
6. #22 Joey Logano Ford 14.930s (+ 0.052s) 128.520mph
7. #5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 14.950s (+ 0.072s) 128.348mph
8. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 14.963s (+ 0.085s) 128.236mph
9. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 14.972s (+ 0.094s) 128.159mph
10. #43 Aric Almirola Ford 14.975s (+ 0.097s) 128.134mph
11. #14 Mark Martin Chevrolet 15.008s (+ 0.130s) 127.852mph
12. #2 Brad Keselowski Ford 15.021s (+ 0.143s) 127.741mph
13. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 15.030s (+ 0.152s) 127.665mph
14. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 15.035s (+ 0.157s) 127.622mph
15. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 15.039s (+ 0.161s) 127.588mph
16. #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 15.044s (+ 0.166s) 127.546mph
17. #34 David Ragan Ford 15.046s (+ 0.168s) 127.529mph
18. #51 Ryan Truex Chevrolet 15.062s (+ 0.184s) 127.393mph
19. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 15.103s (+ 0.225s) 127.048mph
20. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 15.131s (+ 0.253s) 126.813mph
21. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 15.134s (+ 0.256s) 126.787mph
22. #10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 15.158s (+ 0.280s) 126.587mph
23. #47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 15.159s (+ 0.281s) 126.578mph
24. #15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 15.169s (+ 0.291s) 126.495mph
25. #38 David Gilliland Ford 15.172s (+ 0.294s) 126.470mph
26. #98 Michael McDowell Ford 15.185s (+ 0.307s) 126.362mph
27. #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 15.195s (+ 0.317s) 126.278mph
28. #35 Josh Wise Ford 15.199s (+ 0.321s) 126.245mph
29. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 15.205s (+ 0.327s) 126.195mph
30. #13 Casey Mears Ford 15.253s (+ 0.375s) 125.798mph
31. #83 David Reutimann Toyota 15.258s (+ 0.380s) 125.757mph
32. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 15.259s (+ 0.381s) 125.749mph
33. #40 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 15.309s (+ 0.431s) 125.338mph
34. #36 JJ Yeley Chevrolet 15.346s (+ 0.468s) 125.036mph
35. #32 Ken Schrader Ford 15.349s (+ 0.471s) 125.011mph
36. #7 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 15.351s (+ 0.473s) 124.995mph
37. #87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 15.360s (+ 0.482s) 124.922mph
38. #30 David Stremme Toyota 15.390s (+ 0.512s) 124.678mph
39. #93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 15.410s (+ 0.532s) 124.517mph
40. #33 Tony Raines Chevrolet 15.454s (+ 0.576s) 124.162mph
41. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 15.463s (+ 0.585s) 124.090mph
42. #95 Scott Speed Ford 15.528s (+ 0.650s) 123.570mph
43. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 32.695s (+ 17.817s) 58.688mph

Did Not Qualify

#19 Mike Bliss Toyota 15.367s (+ 0.489s) 124.865mph

Practice 2 times

1. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 14.961s (Leader) 128.253mph (8 laps)
2. #78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 14.979s (-0.018s) 128.099mph (5 laps)
3. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 15.105s (-0.144s) 127.031mph (7 laps)
4. #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 15.105s (-0.144s) 127.031mph (11 laps)
5. #22 Joey Logano Ford 15.118s (-0.157s) 126.922mph (37 laps)
6. #20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 15.134s (-0.173s) 126.787mph (8 laps)
7. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 15.137s (-0.176s) 126.762mph (17 laps)
8. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 15.138s (-0.177s) 126.754mph (5 laps)
9. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 15.148s (-0.187s) 126.670mph (11 laps)
10. #43 Aric Almirola Ford 15.166s (-0.205s) 126.520mph (11 laps)
11. #5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 15.169s (-0.208s) 126.495mph (11 laps)
12. #15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 15.180s (-0.219s) 126.403mph (11 laps)
13. #2 Brad Keselowski Ford 15.190s (-0.229s) 126.320mph (54 laps)
14. #55 Brian Vickers Toyota 15.194s (-0.233s) 126.287mph (8 laps)
15. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 15.203s (-0.242s) 126.212mph (24 laps)
16. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 15.214s (-0.253s) 126.121mph (13 laps)
17. #34 David Ragan Ford 15.232s (-0.271s) 125.972mph (49 laps)
18. #38 David Gilliland Ford 15.232s (-0.271s) 125.972mph (33 laps)
19. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 15.234s (-0.273s) 125.955mph (7 laps)
20. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 15.235s (-0.274s) 125.947mph (24 laps)
21. #51 Ryan Truex Chevrolet 15.252s (-0.291s) 125.806mph (8 laps)
22. #47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 15.261s (-0.300s) 125.732mph (7 laps)
23. #83 David Reutimann Toyota 15.268s (-0.307s) 125.675mph (11 laps)
24. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 15.285s (-0.324s) 125.535mph (10 laps)
25. #14 Mark Martin Chevrolet 15.292s (-0.331s) 125.477mph (11 laps)
26. #93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 15.295s (-0.334s) 125.453mph (21 laps)
27. #10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 15.297s (-0.336s) 125.436mph (11 laps)
28. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 15.320s (-0.359s) 125.248mph (23 laps)
29. #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 15.322s (-0.361s) 125.232mph (10 laps)
30. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 15.330s (-0.369s) 125.166mph (14 laps)
31. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 15.332s (-0.371s) 125.150mph (10 laps)
32. #30 David Stremme Toyota 15.337s (-0.376s) 125.109mph (30 laps)
33. #13 Casey Mears Ford 15.342s (-0.381s) 125.068mph (27 laps)
34. #7 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 15.369s (-0.408s) 124.849mph (4 laps)
35. #35 Josh Wise Ford 15.374s (-0.413s) 124.808mph (16 laps)
36. #98 Michael McDowell Ford 15.396s (-0.435s) 124.630mph (7 laps)
37. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 15.427s (-0.466s) 124.379mph (28 laps)
38. #40 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 15.431s (-0.470s) 124.347mph (8 laps)
39. #95 Scott Speed Ford 15.500s (-0.539s) 123.794mph (7 laps)
40. #87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 15.562s (-0.601s) 123.300mph (9 laps)
41. #36 JJ Yeley Chevrolet 15.672s (-0.711s) 122.435mph (57 laps)
42. #19 Mike Bliss Toyota 15.702s (-0.741s) 122.201mph (12 laps)
43. #32 Ken Schrader Ford 15.860s (-0.899s) 120.984mph (48 laps)
44. #33 Tony Raines Chevrolet 16.037s (-1.076s) 119.648mph (11 laps)

Practice 1 times

1. #34 David Ragan Ford 15.311s (Leader) 125.322mph (66 laps)
2. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 15.334s (-0.023s) 125.134mph (75 laps)
3. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 15.360s (-0.049s) 124.922mph (97 laps)
4. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 15.370s (-0.059s) 124.841mph (82 laps)
5. #2 Brad Keselowski Ford 15.378s (-0.067s) 124.776mph (68 laps)
6. #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 15.382s (-0.071s) 124.743mph (84 laps)
7. #78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 15.385s (-0.074s) 124.719mph (105 laps)
8. #22 Joey Logano Ford 15.385s (-0.074s) 124.719mph (102 laps)
9. #55 Brian Vickers Toyota 15.401s (-0.090s) 124.589mph (85 laps)
10. #13 Casey Mears Ford 15.406s (-0.095s) 124.549mph (73 laps)
11. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 15.427s (-0.116s) 124.379mph (100 laps)
12. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 15.446s (-0.135s) 124.226mph (86 laps)
13. #15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 15.459s (-0.148s) 124.122mph (91 laps)
14. #35 Josh Wise Ford 15.463s (-0.152s) 124.090mph (64 laps)
15. #40 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 15.466s (-0.155s) 124.066mph (23 laps)
16. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 15.475s (-0.164s) 123.994mph (96 laps)
17. #38 David Gilliland Ford 15.475s (-0.164s) 123.994mph (63 laps)
18. #43 Aric Almirola Ford 15.476s (-0.165s) 123.986mph (95 laps)
19. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 15.492s (-0.181s) 123.857mph (115 laps)
20. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 15.498s (-0.187s) 123.810mph (68 laps)
21. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 15.509s (-0.198s) 123.722mph (75 laps)
22. #14 Mark Martin Chevrolet 15.512s (-0.201s) 123.698mph (117 laps)
23. #5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 15.525s (-0.214s) 123.594mph (110 laps)
24. #98 Michael McDowell Ford 15.530s (-0.219s) 123.554mph (7 laps)
25. #47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 15.536s (-0.225s) 123.507mph (85 laps)
26. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 15.538s (-0.227s) 123.491mph (99 laps)
27. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 15.540s (-0.229s) 123.475mph (85 laps)
28. #20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 15.540s (-0.229s) 123.475mph (80 laps)
29. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 15.547s (-0.236s) 123.419mph (89 laps)
30. #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 15.553s (-0.242s) 123.372mph (56 laps)
31. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 15.587s (-0.276s) 123.103mph (74 laps)
32. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 15.588s (-0.277s) 123.095mph (71 laps)
33. #87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 15.598s (-0.287s) 123.016mph (23 laps)
34. #93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 15.610s (-0.299s) 122.921mph (81 laps)
35. #51 Ryan Truex Chevrolet 15.615s (-0.304s) 122.882mph (87 laps)
36. #7 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 15.629s (-0.318s) 122.772mph (59 laps)
37. #83 David Reutimann Toyota 15.637s (-0.326s) 122.709mph (110 laps)
38. #19 Mike Bliss Toyota 15.637s (-0.326s) 122.709mph (21 laps)
39. #10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 15.655s (-0.344s) 122.568mph (84 laps)
40. #32 Ken Schrader Ford 15.709s (-0.398s) 122.147mph (61 laps)
41. #30 David Stremme Toyota 15.719s (-0.408s) 122.069mph (45 laps)
42. #36 JJ Yeley Chevrolet 15.770s (-0.459s) 121.674mph (64 laps)
43. #33 Tony Raines Chevrolet 16.074s (-0.763s) 119.373mph (22 laps)
44. #95 Scott Speed Ford 16.141s (-0.830s) 118.877mph (14 laps)



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, gets in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron`s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2013 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, signs the wall 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 Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, poses with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert and the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2013 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying first for the NASCAR Nationwide Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS qualified for eleventh position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Earnhardt, Jr. is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS qualified for sixth position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Johnson is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Designate A Driver Chevrolet SS qualified for third position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Harvick is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Belkin/Wemo Chevrolet SS qualified for second position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates setting the pole position during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, speaks at a press conference following practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, smiles at Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brian Vickers, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Will Schneekloth/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Eckrich Ford, races Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, leads the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with his son, Keelan, in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, crosses the finishline to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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