Friday, April 18, 2014
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NASCAR Bristol 2013 qualifying results: Denny Hamlin wins pole; Kyle Busch will start last after wreck

In what was an adventurous qualifying session Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway, it was Denny Hamlin who came out ahead and won the pole for the Irwin Tools Night Race.

Because of the slick surface on the half-mile track, numerous drivers struggled with a lack of grip on their qualifying lap. Among them was Kyle Busch, who backed into the wall and will start Saturday's race 43rd. He had been fastest in practice and was considered the favorite to win the No. 1 starting position.

For Hamlin, his fourth pole of the year comes at an opportune time, as his 2013 season has been a trying one.

It began when he broke his back in an accident in March at Auto Club Speedway, an injury that kept him out of the car for four races and all but ensured he would not make the Chase for the first time in his career. And as of late, it's been inconsistency that has hampered Hamlin, who hasn't finished better than 18th in his previous nine races.

"It's our worst run of nine races in my career," Hamlin said. "And a lot of it is our own doing. We got off track for a couple of races because we were blowing right front tires in consecutive weeks. We started chasing our setups and didn't find anything that was very good with that.

"But we're headed in the right direction. We've got something we can build on. It's a pole at a short track, which is no big deal for a lot of teams, but like I said, at any moment we can go from that 25th-place car on a weekly basis to winning the pole and winning the race."

A year ago, Hamlin won at Bristol starting eighth.

Lining up alongside Hamlin on the front row is Kurt Busch, who found trouble in practice when he pancaked the right side of his Chevrolet. His Furniture Row Racing team was able to hastily make repairs and avoided having to switch to a backup car.

In his first race filling in for Tony Stewart, Mark Martin qualified 11th. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 19th, Danica Patrick 22nd and Jeff Gordon 32nd.

The only driver who failed to qualify was Mike Bliss.

Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Qualifying Results

1)         Denny Hamlin

2)         Kurt Busch

3)         Carl Edwards

4)         Brian Vickers

5)         Matt Kenseth

6)         Joey Logano

7)         Kasey Kahne

8)         Ryan Newman

9)         Martin Truex Jr.

10)       Aric Almirola

11)       Mark Martin

12)       Brad Keselowski

13)       Jimmie Johnson

14)       Marcos Ambrose

15)       Kevin Harvick

16)       Juan Pablo Montoya

17)       David Ragan

18)       Ryan Truex

19)       Dale Earnhardt Jr.

20)       Jamie McMurray

21)       Paul Menard

22)       Danica Patrick

23)       Bobby Labonte

24)       Clint Bowyer

25)       David Gilliland

26)       Michael McDowell

27)       Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

28)       Josh Wise

29)       Greg Biffle

30)       Casey Mears

31)       David Reutimann

32)       Jeff Gordon

33)       Landon Cassill

34)       JJ Yeley

35)       Ken Schrader

36)       Dave Blaney

37)       Joe Nemechek

38)       David Stremme

39)       Travis Kvapil

40)       Tony Raines

41)       Jeff Burton

42)       Scott Speed

43)       Kyle Busch

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This article originally appeared on SBNation.

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