Denny Hamlin Captures Texas For His 2nd Win This Season

CRANDALL The tides are turning for Hamlin	
				Image by Jarrett  LAT

CRANDALL The tides are turning for Hamlin Image by Jarrett LAT

"I was just trying to get a consistent weekend, " Johnson said. "Us trying new things and not having a past history with these setups, and honestly searching for greatness and to get an advantage".

"I feel like over my career good Fridays mean a good Sunday", said Johnson, who earned his second pole in 32 Cup races at TMS.

The last time Johnson won the pole at the 1 1/2-mile Texas track was 2012.

Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski have the three wins for Team Penske this season, but it was a tough day at Texas.

Busch's team-mate Denny Hamlin took his second win of the year, while Busch eventually recovered to 10th. He twice previously missed chances to sweep at the 1½-mile Texas track, in 2009 and 2014. Johnson will be joined in the two-car front row by Hendrick Motorsport teammate William Byron in the No. 24 Axalta/Primeline Chevy after his lap of 188.416 miles per hour.

All four Stewart-Haas Racing cars finished in the top eight, led by Bowyer and Daniel Suarez finishing third.

FORT WORTH, Texas - Seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson returned to form Friday evening at Texas Motor Speedway, qualifying on-pole for Sunday's 23 annual O'Reilly Auto Parts 500.

"It's week to week".

While Hamlin was reviewing all that happened, crew chief Chris Gabehart interrupted - "I think you passed 327 cars by my count, but maybe not", he said.

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"I was just beating my head against the steering wheel thinking, 'Man, we're going to finish bad with a really fast race auto, '" Hamlin said.

Hamlin won the season-opening Daytona 500 and has finished no worse than 11th in any race this year. He also had the fastest lap at 186.987 miles per hour in the only practice Saturday, when temperatures were around 50 degrees - about 20 degrees cooler than Friday.

Jones held the top spot until he made his final pit stop with 32 laps to go where his No. 20 team put on two tires.

Working this season with crew chief Kevin Meendering in place of long-time partner Chad Knaus, Johnson sent a message earlier Friday when he paced the afternoon practice at 189.747 miles per hour. Texas Motor Speedway opened in 1996 as a Quad-Oval layout, meaning the front stretch has two turns in it, and it had banking of 24 degrees in all four turns. Kurt Busch won the second Bristol race last August, after Kyle Busch won the previous two races there. Both arms are raised into the air and the checkered flag is in his right hand.

Johnson's record seven Cup wins at Texas are four more than Busch, the next-closest active driver.

With Johnson leading the way after a final-stage fast lap of 188.890 miles per hour to get his first pole anywhere since 2016, Hendrick Motorsports took the top three qualifying spots Friday. In his other 13 starts, he had not finished outside of the top three. The work that went into these cars the last 36 months, we're not out of the woods yet. But with all of that said, very aggressive coming here to Texas and it paid off. Busch will start 18 in the 39-car field. Harvick won't be moving to the Fox Sports broadcast booth next year if Darrell Waltrip retires.

Harvick said Friday that he's not getting out of the race vehicle and is comfortable where he's at both on and off the track.

Jimmie Johnson will start on the pole at Texas, where he is a seven-time victor.

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