Hamlin claims Bristol pole with new track record

Worth mentioning: Ryan Blaney won the Truck series race Wednesday night at Bristol.

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Driver Denny Hamlin comes down the back straight during qualifying…

It’s time for some short track racing on the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway, and while I may not like the layout which changed in 2007 to allow multiple grooves on the track, it’s still short track racing at high speeds.

With three races remaining until the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Dillon is still lagging a bit behind in the points race, but a victory would put him in the field. Qualifying for the Irwin Tools Night Race for the Sprint Cup Series begins Friday at 5:45 p.m. ET, with the race going green Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Busch won’t have the chance to sweep the three races like he did in August 2010, but chances are he’ll have a good finish. His increased comfort level was apparent Sunday at Michigan worldwide Speedway, where he led 19 laps (he’d only led laps in two previous races this season) and sparred for the lead with race-winner Matt Kenseth during one entertaining stretch. Equally tough and respected at the same time, which gives him kind of edge. He’s tied with brother Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon for the most Bristol wins among active drivers. Dillon was running third late in that race before he ran out of gas. Gordon has won five times at Bristol, but not since August, 2002.

“I think I proved that I can compete with Xfinity drivers”, said Dillon. Kurt Busch’s last win here came in 2006.

Jimmie Johnson only has one Bristol win (2010), but has finished fourth or better in past two starts, including runner-up in April. Bristol is a prime place for Smith to gain ground on his young adversaries.

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Kyle Larson, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and David Ragan all transferred to the final round.

Rob Carr