NASCAR Pocono 2014 qualifying results: Denny Hamlin wins pole, sets new track record

Doug Pensinger

Denny Hamlin will be starting from a familiar position in Sunday’s NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway.

Good things happen when Denny Hamlin wins the pole at Pocono Raceway, which is why the Joe Gibbs Racing driver was enthused after setting fast time in qualifying Friday.

Going 181.415mph, Hamlin broke the previous track record to claim his third career pole at the 2.5-mile triangular-shaped speedway. This is significant because each time Hamlin has started first at Pocono, he has then gone on to win.

"Typically, when you have a car that can get the pole, that tells me you have all the parts and pieces and should be capable of winning," Hamlin said. "As tough as passing is (at Pocono), it's better to be up front than having to battle your way through traffic."

Pocono was the site of Hamlin's first Sprint Cup victory in 2006 when he won from the pole as a rookie. He accomplished a similar feat two months later in NASCAR's return visit to the track.

"This was very similar to what we did our rookie season," Hamlin said. "We just kept making it two- to three-tenths faster ever session. We were definitely not a pole-winning car in practice or even in the first round of qualifying."

NASCAR Power Rankings

Hamlin also won in 2009 and 2010 at Pocono, but has struggled since. He crashed out early in August and finished 43rd (last). His troubles were in-part attributed to a repave the track underwent two years ago.

"The race track is just so different," Hamlin said. "You might as well just rename the race track; it's just not the same as it used to be. Really the setups are completely different."

Kurt Busch, who was fastest in Round 2, qualified his Chevrolet in the second position. Following him are Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon in third, fourth, fifth, respectively.

Completing the top 12 were Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brian Vickers, Carl Edwards, Austin Dillon and Tony Stewart.

The big surprise of qualifying was Jimmie Johnson's failure to advance past the second session. Johnson won took the pole in both Pocono races last year, and won in June leading 128 of 160 laps. The defending Sprint Cup champion blamed himself after qualifying 20th.

"The driver blew Turn 2," Johnson said. "I just got too greedy down in (Turn) 2 and lost the nose in corner exit. I knew it killed the lap.

"I feel bad for my guys, but this one is one me."

All 43 drivers qualified.

Pocono 400 starting lineup
Position Driver Make Speed
1 Denny Hamlin Toyota 181.415
2 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 181.408
3 Brad Keselowski Ford 181.316
4 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 180.832
5 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 180.513
6 Kyle Busch Toyota 180.458
7 Joey Logano Ford 179.827
8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Chevrolet 179.565
9 Brian Vickers Toyota 179.548
10 Carl Edwards Ford 179.383
11 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 179.326
12 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 179.126
13 Greg Biffle Ford 179.258
14 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 179.229
15 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 179.072
16 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 179.051
17 Martin Truex, Jr. Chevrolet 178.976
18 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 178.919
19 Clint Bowyer Toyota 178.777
20 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 178.678
21 A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet 178.288
22 Aric Almirola Ford 178.144
23 Paul Menard Chevrolet 178.031
24 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 177.288
25 Casey Mears Chevrolet 178.045
26 Matt Kenseth Toyota 177.968
27 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 177.908
28 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Ford 177.830
29 Marcos Ambrose Ford 177.162
30 Michael Annett Chevrolet 176.308
31 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 176.025
32 David Ragan Ford 175.922
33 Travis Kvapil Ford 175.867
34 Alex Bowman Toyota 175.675
35 David Gilliland Ford 175.613
36 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 174.958
37 Josh Wise Ford 174.747
38 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet 173.970
39 Timmy Hill Toyota 173.260
40 Cole Whitt Toyota 172.808
41 Ryan Truex Toyota 172.453
42 Alex Kennedy Chevrolet 169.693
43 Dave Blaney Ford No Time

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