Hamlin Leads JGR Front Row Sweep In Charlotte

Jacob Seelman Cup, Featured 0 Comments

Kyle Busch qualified fourth on Friday night, breaking his string of three-straight poles. (Ryan Willard photo)

After hitting the wall in first practice earlier in the day, Kyle Busch rallied to fourth in qualifying, just ahead of Stewart Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer.

Brad Keselowski was sixth, with Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick filling out the first six rows of the grid.

Austin Dillon, who was eliminated from playoff contention after Dover last weekend, was the first driver who failed to advance to the final round and will roll off 13th in the No. 3 DOW Chevrolet.

Ryan Blaney (15th) was the highest-ranking playoff driver eliminated in round two, but the real surprise of the 10-minute second stint was Martin Truex Jr., who ended up 17th (/) in the No. 78 Auto Owner’s Insurance Toyota.

“We just missed it a little bit … I don’t really know why, honestly,”  I thought I felt pretty good at the end of practice and the car was just way freer than it was earlier. It’s just one of those things: race cars.”

Jamie McMurray (18th) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (22nd) were the other playoff drivers knocked out in round two.

Kannapolis native Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 23rd in his final race at his home race track.

Jimmie Johnson was the worst of the playoff contenders in qualifying on Friday. (Ryan Willard photo)

Seven-time Cup champion and defending race winner Jimmie Johnson, who lost much of the first round of qualifying due to inspection troubles, was bumped below the cut line in the final seconds by his teammate Earnhardt.

As a result, Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet will start a disappointing 25th (28.538/189.221) on Sunday.

“Our run was much, much looser than we anticipated,” said Johnson. “(Having to make) multiple trips through the inspection line doesn’t help by any stretch … and we just missed it. It’s another frustrating Friday, unfortunately, but we’ll be back tomorrow.”

“We’ll have to pass a lot of cars on Sunday. It sucks getting behind to start the weekend … but it is what it is. We just have to go to work in the race.”

Former Charlotte winner Joey Logano was also surprisingly eliminated in round one, qualifying 28th in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford.

Erik Jones, Corey LaJoie and Brett Moffitt did not clear inspection and will start 38th through 40th, respectively.

Full qualifying results can be viewed on the next page…

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