Denny Hamlin Claims Final Pole of 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Season at Homestead

Joe Gibbs Racing swept the front row in qualifying for the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

byAmanda Vincent|
NASCAR photo

Denny Hamlin will start on the pole for the final NASCAR Cup Series race of 2018 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He claimed his fourth pole of the year and the third of his career at the Florida track with a 31.059-second/173.863 mph lap in the third and final round of qualifying Friday for the Ford EcoBoost 400.

“It’s big for us to get this race team up front here,” Hamlin said. "We definitely want to end on a high note and try to win; 2013 we were in the same predicament where we hadn’t won a race until the final race and we got it done, so hopefully, it’s our time to do it. We’re going to keep digging. Hats off to this team. We were hanging around that seventh to 10th the first couple of rounds and they just—'Wheels' [Mike Wheeler, crew chief] made the right adjustments.”

Joe Gibbs Racing swept the front row in Friday’s qualifying session. Hamlin’s teammate, Kyle Busch, was second in the final round to be the highest-qualifier among the four championship contenders.

“Not too bad, wish we had a little bit more there obviously to get the number one pit box,” Busch said. "Two years in a row, Denny has been able to figure that last run out. Just see what happens tomorrow.”

Busch tops among title contenders in Homestead qualifying.

, Kyle Busch walks between two race car transporters during practice for the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 16, 2018., Getty Images for NASCAR

JGR had the fastest lap in all three rounds of qualifying but with three different drivers. Busch’s 30.920-second/174.644 mph lap in the opening round was the fastest overall of the session while Erik Jones led Round 2 with a 31.028-second/174.036 mph lap.

All four title contenders advanced to the final round of qualifying. Reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. qualified third for his Furniture Row Racing team’s final race. Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick completed Friday's session in fifth and 12th, respectively.

REMAINING WEEKEND SCHEDULE: Two Saturday practice sessions are on the weekend schedule for the NASCAR Cup Series season finale, one from 11:35 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. ET and another from 2 to 2:50 p.m. The Ford EcoBoost 400 is scheduled for an approximate 3 p.m. start on Sunday. Both NBC and the NBC Sports Network will host race broadcasts, with a traditional airing on NBC and one that will focus more heavily on the Championship Four drivers on NBCSN.