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Denny Hamlin Executes Perfectly to Score 40th Cup Series Pole at Watkins Glen

Denny Hamlin will lead the field to green in Sunday's Go Bowling at The Glen, with Byron, McDowell, and Gibbs just behind.


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For the 40th time in his NASCAR Cup Series career, Denny Hamlin will lead the field to green, scoring the pole for Sunday's Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International.

Driving the No. 11 Mavis Tires & Brakes Toyota Camry TRD for Joe Gibbs Racing, Hamlin posted the quickest time in the final round of qualifying - clocking in at 70.392 seconds / 125.298mph - to score his fourth pole of the season.

As if it wasn't already enough to score the pole for Sunday's 90-lap event, Hamlin went back on-track for a second run in the final round, improving his time even further over the field.

"Yeah, I thought so," Hamlin pondered when asked if his speed in the bus stop was the determining factor in winning the pole. "I thought I kind of executed those corners pretty good. There were a few spots I feel like I still could have gotten a little bit more, but I mean, you can't nitpick when you're that good."

William Byron will start alongside the 50-time NASCAR Cup Series winner on the front row for Sunday's race, after showing immense speed in practice, and the opening round of qualifying.

Michael McDowell, who scored the victory in last weekend's event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, recorded another top-five starting spot on a road course in third.

NASCAR Cup Series rookie and NASCAR Xfinity Series polesitter Ty Gibbs will start Sunday's race from fourth place, while the defending winner of the Go Bowling at The Glen, Kyle Larson, will start from fifth.

AJ Allmendinger, Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Kyle Busch, and Corey LaJoie completed the top-10 in qualifying at the 2.45-mile road course in New York.

LaJoie, who will start from 10th on Sunday, recorded a career-best result in qualifying on Saturday, one day after notching himself a pole in the ARCA Menards Series for Spraker Racing in the No. 63.

Defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano narrowly missed out on the final round of qualifying, and will start from 11th.

Bubba Wallace, who sits on the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff cutline entering Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen, will start from 12th-place, while his closest competitor in Daniel Suarez will start just two positions behind the No. 23 Toyota Camry, in 14th.

Chase Elliott, who enters the penultimate event of the regular season in a must-win situation, will start Sunday’s 90-lap contest from 15th place, after coming up short to Michael McDowell last weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Chris Buescher (13th), Alex Bowman (18th), Martin Truex, Jr. (19th), Ross Chastain (22nd), Ryan Blaney (23rd), Brad Keselowski (24th), and Kevin Harvick (34th) were among the notables who failed to advance to the final round.

Despite several close calls, there were no on-track incidents at Watkins Glen throughout practice or qualifying on Saturday, meaning that barring unapproved adjustments, all drivers will be able to maintain their earned starting spot for Sunday's race.

Image Credit: Rusty Jarrett, LAT, Courtesy of Toyota Racing

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