MARTINSVILLE, Va., Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Denny Hamlin
turned in a track qualifying record Friday to win the pole for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.
Hamlin traveled around the half-mile track at 99.595 mph to win the 17th pole of his career and a series-best fifth this season. Four of those poles have been won at Martinsville, although he missed the spring race at the track while recovering from a compression fracture in his lower back.
Jimmie Johnson, who took the lead in the championship race last week at Talladega, will start on the outside of the first row after turning in a lap at 93.344 mph. He has won the last two races held in Martinsville.
Kyle Busch qualified third and Matt Kenseth, who trails Johnson by four points with four races remaining in the championship chase, was fourth.
They were followed by Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Talladega winner Jamie McMurray, David Ragan, Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick.
The top 18 qualifiers broke the old track record of 98.400 set by Johnson in April.
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