Hamlin wins pole as drama among championship contenders unfolds at Homestead

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 20: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, poses with Miss Coors Light Amanda Mertz and the Coors Light Pole award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 20:  Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, poses with Miss Coors Light Amanda Mertz and the Coors Light Pole award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 20: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, poses with Miss Coors Light Amanda Mertz and the Coors Light Pole award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

The attention may be on the four drivers who will race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship Sunday, but Friday belonged to non-Chase driver Denny Hamlin.  Hamlin put down a lap 30.568, 176.655 mph at Homestead-Miami Speedway late in the final five minute round of qualifying Friday to win his third pole of the season and the final one of the 2015 season.  The pole was Hamlin’s third of the season, the 23rd of his career and his first at Homestead where he has two wins.

“Fast car,” Hamlin said. “Our car has been really fast all day so I’ve been very encouraged with what we’ve seen with our FedEx Ground Toyota. I don’t know. Everything is going good. I wouldn’t mind a little bit of rain tomorrow to not let these guys catch up in race trim. I’m certainly very optimistic we’re going to have a good day on Sunday.”

The drama however belonged to the four drivers who will contend for the championship, specifically Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick MORE>>>

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.