Monday, March 27, 2023

Denny Hamlin Leads Toyota Top-Four in Extremely Tight Coca-Cola 600 Qualifying

Denny Hamlin BARELY captured the pole for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, beating Kurt Busch by only three-thousandths of a second. PC: Toyota Racing | Twitter

WOW. It really doesn’t get any closer than that, right there.

Denny Hamlin took the pole position for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the 34th of his NASCAR Cup Series career, putting down a time of 29.399 seconds (183.680mph).

He didn’t win the pole by much either, with Kurt Busch – Hamlin’s driver at 23XI Racing — posting a time only three-thousandths of a second slower than the No. 11 Toyota Camry to earn his best start since winning the Coca-Cola 600 pole in 2020.

If that’s not enough to convince you things were close, Christopher Bell – a teammate of Denny Hamlin — will start the race in third, after posting a lap time only four-thousandths of a second off the pole position, and one-thousandth of a second off of the front row.

Rounding out a Toyota sweep of the top-four positions was Kyle Busch, who was still less than three-hundredths of a second slower than the pole winner. William Byron will be the highest starting Chevrolet in fifth.

Austin Cindric, Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick, Alex Bowman, and Michael McDowell all advanced to the second round of qualifying, therefore earning starting spots inside the top-10.

Other notables include Ryan Blaney (12th), Chase Elliott (13th), Martin Truex Jr. (14th), Kevin Harvick (18th), Joey Logano (23rd), Aric Almirola (24th), and Brad Keselowski (35th).

Keselowski was the only driver to find trouble during single-car qualifying on Saturday, spinning his Kohler Generators Ford Mustang on the exit of turn four during his lap.


However, both Kyle Larson and Corey LaJoie did find issues in the early minutes of practice for the NASCAR Cup Series, with LaJoie crashing hard in turn two, and Larson spinning around just minutes later.

As a result, both drivers were unable to post a time and will start 36th and 37th.

Joseph Srigley
Joseph Srigley
University of Windsor | Business Administration - Supply Chain & Data Analytics Editor at

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