Dover, DE (SportsNetwork.com) - Denny Hamlin will start on the pole for the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks after topping Martin Truex Jr. in Friday's qualifying at Dover International Speedway.
Hamlin, the driver of the No. 11 FedEx-sponsored Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, earned the top starting position for Sunday's 400-lap race at this one-mile, concrete-surfaced track with a lap at 160.121 mph during the final round of qualifying. He was the only driver who exceed 160 mph.
It was Hamlin's first pole of the season, his third at Dover and the 21st of his Sprint Cup Series career. He started first in the September 2012 and June 2013 races here. His best finish in a Sprint Cup event at this track is fourth, which occurred in the spring of 2007 and '10.
"We still haven't won here, but we've been more competitive for sure," Hamlin said. "Whatever it is about the qualifying here, it just seems to suit my driving style. We've qualified well here in the past, but haven't always raced that well. I'm pretty confident come Sunday. We'll be contenders."
Truex, who scored his first career victory in the series at Dover eight years ago, held the provisional pole with a lap at 159.723 mph until Hamlin turned in his quickest lap. He hails from nearby Mayetta, New Jersey and considers Dover as his home track.
"We have an awesome race car," said Truex, the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet. "We thought we were okay in practice. It didn't feel like we were a front row car, and we made some adjustments. They (78 team) hit it damn near perfect. We just needed a little bit. Another good day, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow (Saturday's final practice). I can't wait to get to work on race trim and see what we can do on Sunday."
In the past two races, Kansas and Charlotte, Truex had led the most laps but came up short of winning. Earlier this month at Kansas, he finished ninth after leading 95 laps, and then last Sunday at Charlotte, he led 131 laps but wound up finishing fifth. Truex has been winless in the last 68 races, a streak dating back to June 2013 at the Sonoma, California road course.
All four drivers from Gibbs qualified in the top-10, with Matt Kenseth taking the fourth spot, Carl Edwards eighth and Kyle Busch 10th. Kenseth started on the pole and Edwards won the race at Charlotte.
Kyle Larson placed third in qualifying, while Joey Logano took the fifth spot and Kevin Harvick, the defending Sprint Cup champion, was sixth. Greg Biffle qualified seventh.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. placed ninth, Jamie McMurray 11th and Austin Dillon 12th.
None of the four drivers from Hendrick Motorsports advanced into the last round of qualifying. Jimmie Johnson, who won at Dover for a record ninth time one year ago, qualified 14th. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 16th and Jeff Gordon, who won the most recent race at Dover last September, took the 22nd spot. Kasey Kahne failed to make it out of the first round, qualifying 25th.
Also failing to advance beyond Q1 were: Tony Stewart (26th) and Danica Patrick (33rd).
Travis Kvapil and Jeff Green failed to qualify.