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Denny Hamlin takes pole at Pocono Raceway

Photo by Marcus Leno/The Racing Experts

LONG POND, Pa. — Denny Hamlin will lead the field to the green flag Sunday in the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400.

Hamlin posted the fastest lap time in the second round of qualifying at Pocono Raceway Saturday, a 52.944-second lap (169.991 mph) to earn his third pole of 2022 and the 36th of his Cup Series career.

“Honestly, I wasn’t really that confident in it, especially off of Turn 2,” Hamlin said of his pole-winning qualifying lap to The Racing Experts.

“I got pretty tight there, and I was thinking the whole time that it probably wasn’t a pole-winning lap, knowing I had to run an ‘O’ to do it, but I did get off of Turn 3 really well, and I thought that maybe it gave me a shot.”

Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch will start alongside Hamlin on the front row. Busch posted the second-fastest lap time with a 53.098-second lap time (169.498 mph).

Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Chris Buescher rounded out the Top-5 qualifiers.


Chris Salazar/The Racing Experts

Ryan Blaney, Bubba Wallace, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, and Kurt Busch rounded out the Top-10 in qualifying.

Busch spun during his qualifying lap in Turn 3, putting the back of the No. 45 car into the outside retaining wall. Busch, along with William Byron and Ross Chastain, will drive a backup racecar Sunday.

Last week’s winner at New Hampshire, Christopher Bell, will start 11th.

Alex Bowman, a winner at Pocono last year, will start 17th.

Austin Cindric was the highest-qualifying rookie in 20th.

The M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 will be televised live on USA Network on Sunday, July 24 at 3 p.m. ET.


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