Bristol, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Denny Hamlin won the pole for the Food City 500 after beating Brad Keselowski by 0.003 seconds in Friday's qualifying at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Hamlin, the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, set a new track qualifying record at Bristol with a lap at 129.991 mph. He surpassed the previous record of 129.535 mph, set by his JGR teammate, Kyle Busch, one year ago. Hamlin claimed his 18th career pole in the Sprint Cup Series. He won the pole for the night race at Bristol last August.
Keselowski turned a lap at 129.965 mph to grab a front row starting position for the third consecutive race. The Team Penske driver won the pole two weeks ago at Phoenix and the qualified second to teammate Joey Logano last week at Las Vegas. Keselowski went on to win the race at Las Vegas.
Matt Kenseth, who is Hamlin's teammate, qualified third, while Logano took the fourth spot. Marcos Ambrose placed fifth. Kenseth won last year's night race here.
Finishing sixth through 12th were: Jeff Gordon, Busch, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, who won last year's spring race at Bristol, Jimmie Johnson, the six-time and defending Sprint Cup champion, and Carl Edwards.
Kurt Busch missed advancing into the second and final round of qualifying at this 0.533-mile short track by only 0.001 seconds. Busch will start 13th in Sunday's 500-lap race at Bristol.